CD Review: Cage the Elephant — Melophobia
Cage the Elephant’s new album is named for the fear of, or aversion to, music. If you know Cage the Elephant then you know they embody exactly the opposite. In their previous albums, Cage the Elephant (2009), and Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011), the Kentucky band developed a unique, genre-bending sound that incorporates elements of blues, funk, punk, rockabilly, and alternative rock. Melophobia, despite its ironic name, is a daring elaboration on their signature sound.
The album, released Oct. 8, is diverse and dynamic. “Come A Little Closer” is the first single released from the album, and though it’s a good example of their cacophonous style for someone unfamiliar with the band, it lacks the elusive sticking quality of previous singles. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare it with the classic, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” but the one thing I feel this album is somewhat lacking is the memorability of previous albums. However, that is not a definitive judgment on the album, which still offers plenty of musical gold. It starts with “Spiderhead,” which features a rockabilly sound but with a Cage-the-Elephant-flavored twist. From there it ranges to slower songs, like “Telescope,” and “Cigarette Daydreams,” both reminiscent of “Right Before Your Eyes.” And for your fix of chaotic, enraged punk, there’s tracks like “It’s Just Forever,” and “Teeth.” For those in the middle of the road, try “Halo,” “Black Widow,” or “Take It Or Leave It.”
Cage the Elephant can always be counted on for pure, unbridled creative energy that results in aggressive songs that give a listener the opportunity to let loose and go crazy. The same is true of Melophobia, though there is something slightly more contained, structured, than in previous albums. Some will call it selling out; I prefer to hear it as a maturation of their sound. But one thing is for certain: they are nowhere near done yet.
My favorite song: Halo
My least favorite song: Teeth
Listen to the full album here.