Just when you think you have these guys figured, Cage the Elephant flips the script with their third album. Fans have been eagerly awaiting for this release and now that they have it they may not know what to think. Trading in their chaotic sound and unstable vocals in exchange for mellow songs with a sweeter sounding Matt Shultz this record makes you want to dance rather than lose your mind in the mosh pit. It sounds nothing like their previous releases, yet the band made sure you didn't mind too much.
Just as with their first two albums, there isn't a moment here you want to miss. Every song is great and when you're listening to it, you're not concentrating on how different the sound is, rather you can't get over how amazing the tracks are. The opening track “Spiderhead” introduces the listener to the sound they'll find on this record. With the unpolished sound and the ringing guitar riffs it has a vintage quality to it, like something you would expect to hear in the 70's. This is also where you can hear Matt change up his vocals as he pulls off some falsetto here. “Come a Little Closer” is on the mellow side of things with soft, relaxing music and soothing vocals from Matt. With the singing style and the guitar riff it has a twinge of psychedelic sound, which was found mostly on their debut. It's a song that may have shocked some fans, but the more you hear it, the more you fall in love with it. Plus, it's catchy; you can't help but sing along whenever it comes on.
Even though the sound is dramatically different on this album, there are still traces of their wild selves on certain tracks. “It's Just Forever” featuring Allison Mosshart of The Kills, has this really cool 60's surfer rock vibe. The riff sounds like something you would hear over the opening credits of a James Bond film. It's this morbid romantic love song that finds this couple wanting to stay together until “the skin falls off our bones.” It's a gruesome and cynical take on the love song. Still, it's an excellent track.
The rest of the songs here are just as amazing. “Take It or Leave It” has this weird 80's vibe that makes you want to dance and sing along, while “Halo” has a playful guitar riff that jumps around and really grabs your attention. The way Shultz sings “ahhh” after each line is addictive for the upbeat track. “Hypocrite” has some more mellow music, but it also has horns coming in after the verses that give it a ska feel. It's another catchy song with Matt sounding as sweet as ever when he sings “You call me baby blue/for all the evil schemes I pull.” He also howls "aaaahhhooooo" towards the end making him sound like a lone wolf. The album closes with the bittersweet and soft “Cigarette Daydreams,” which sounds similar to “Flow” from their second release. Just as with that song, this one shows there is a softer side to the band. It's a great way to end the amazing album that leaves the listener wanting more.
Cage the Elephant recently finished up a tour with British band Muse. They'll head back on the road overseas early next year. Their new album "Melophobia" is out now. To get your copy and to follow the band's whereabouts check out their website.