Cage The Elephant’s freshly-released album, Social Cues lives up to their ten-year alt-rock legacy. Their April-released album took a revised step further from the retro-rock of Tell Me I’m Pretty, with some added synth psych elements to set the tone. Speaking of which, from the lift-off the tone is certainly set with Broken Boy, a Klaxons-style spin on classic indie, giving an essence that of Thank You, Happy Birthday.
Their debut single “Ready To Let Go” has melancholic undertones, referencing Schultz’ recent divorce, however it is disguised beneath layered whines and debut album nostalgia. Similarly, Love’s The Only Way is a progressive addition to the theme but it’s stripped-down instrumentation echoes that of Shake Me Down all those years ago.
The vocal and synth effects throughout scream 2008 British Indie, referencing their previous albums with dirty mic distortion. The classic “pantyhose-covered mic” technique makes me reminisce over The Strokes’ Comedown Machine- except with a well needed ABA format and consistent bass holding strings together, which Cage The Elephant always manage to pull off without sounding repetitive.
As their fifth studio album it is presumed a certain electronic Strokes 2011 esq shake-up would take place to form a new “post-fourth-album” tone like many bands execute- usually as a result of a five album deal. There are major technological elements which is typical of CTE, yet Social Cues remains consistent, track after track, in classic noughties rock form. It’s almost like they narrowly avoided fifth-album-fatigue by diving straight back into their roots to Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, which die-hard fans know and love. Cage the Elephant have sat tightly next to small-scale venue sounds, even during Tell Me I’m Pretty which saw its biggest electro-uprising- and Social Cues is no different.
I am pleasantly surprised by Social Cues, and am not losing faith in Cage The Elephant’s contribution to rock anytime soon.