It’s been two years since Cage The Elephant’s last album Unpeeled. And it is with no worry that their new album Social Cues will live up to expectations. Except for once, I didn’t know what I was expecting and this album certainly wasn’t it…
With their last album mastering an iconic collection of live music from Los Angeles, Nashville and Washington DC, the band have a history of delivering spectacular music. Raw and unfiltered.
Retrospectively, the American rock band have danced through an array of different sounds, ploughing through grunge, folk and rock. It seems that they have tip-toed their way through the music industry, testing out each genre of music as they wish. But, hey, isn’t it better to live life on your toes rather than on solid ground? After all, only a selection of bands can get away with this degree of variation.
Following the incessant January blues, the band teased us on the 31st with a music video to ‘Ready To Let Go’. And, quite frankly, it’s as extraordinary and abstract as you’d imagine it to be. Welcome to the mind of Matt Shultz.
In an interview with NME, Shultz revealed that he came up with different characters to tell different parts of his story on the album. He also added that ‘Ready Let Go’ deals with the breakdown of his marriage with Juliette Buchs.
The music video has already reached 4 million views.
Opening the album with a prismatic entrance, ‘Broken Boy’, captures the energetic and retro vibe of the five-piece. The echoic transcendence almost feels like I am about to enter The Hunger Games.
As the album unfolds it becomes evident that the album is reflective on the escapades of Matt’s life, taking us through heartbreak, loss and ending with a melancholic ‘Goodbye’.
Though Matt explains that he has spent a lot more time on the album, I can’t help but be distracted by the tin-like sound in ‘Black Madonna’ and ‘Dance Dance’. While it might add style, I’m struggling to concentrate on what is going on.
Slower songs such as ‘What I’m Becoming’ and ‘Loves the Only Way’ translate perfectly into an acoustic setting, offering a soothing melody. Perhaps this was added to create a happy morale to the album, ending on a positive note.
Despite the shambolic chaos that the album connotes, I can happily applaud Matt for the musical genius that he is. I don’t think Shultz is actually aware of what he writes, but he knows how to make it emotionally relatable. And that’s what keeps people listening.
Social Cues is out now on Columbia.