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  • First Reaction: Cage The Elephant – "Melophobia"

    Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:05:21

    First Reaction: Cage The Elephant – "Melophobia" - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

    Cage the Elephant Photos

    • Cage the Elephant - SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 27: Singer Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant performs on stage at Showbox Sodo on August 27, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.
    • Cage the Elephant - SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 27: Singer Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant performs on stage at Showbox Sodo on August 27, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.
    • Cage the Elephant - SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 27: Singer Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant performs on stage at Showbox Sodo on August 27, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

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    Rock 'n' roll is weird animal in 2013.

    It's not that the genre is extinct, but everybody does wonder where the hell it is. It's hiding in plain sight though, and it's just waiting to rise back up and overshadow the plethora of dudes playing laptops at overcrowded festivals and pop fabrications masquerading as stars.

    Cage The Elephant's third full-length album has the power to change all of that when it drops on October 8. Instead of distilling elements of classic rock, folk, or grunge into a musical gumbo a la most modern "rock" bands, Cage The Elephant charge forward with a sound that's unequivocally their own. We're not kidding either. You won't hear one other record like their new offering this year—and that's a goddamn good thing.

    Upon first listen to Melophobia, there's an unmistakable ere of unpredictability that's so welcome. The cool thing is it comes without hipster posturing and pretense. That's what strikes you the most when listening for the very first time.

    "Spiderhead" drops from a Sabbath-ian riff into handclaps, resounding surf tones, and a slippery beat. Singer Matt Schultz questions whether he's in heaven or hell before screaming out a devilishly catchy refrain. The first single "Come A Little Closer" slips in like a killer in the night tiptoeing on an organ hum and bass bounce before delivering one of the band's biggest hooks yet.

    The riff on "It's Just Forever" could score a classic fifties horror flick. You know like the ones about zombies living next door or aliens landing in your neighbor's laundry? "Take It Or Leave It" builds from a seventies funk jam that borders on disco before descending back into Cage The Elephant's own wild and wondrous melodic sensibility. The melody on "Halo" feels downright heavenly, but everything gets truly divine on the closer "Cigarette Dreams". A slow acoustic guitar strum is punctuated by Schultz's immediate croon. There's an elegant haze draped over the minimalism as this cinematic send-off blossoms into something of an elegy.

    Hopefully, Melophobia does what it has the potential to do—and that's solidify Cage The Elephant as one of the biggest bands in rock 'n' roll. Moreover, it could spawn some sort of reawakening. Either way, this is an animal worth un-caging. It's a masterpiece.

    Rick Florino
    08.15.13


    Are you excited for Melophobia? What's your favorite Cage The Elephant song?

    Pre-order it here!

    See our feature on Why Cage The Elephant Is So Important to Rock 'n' Roll!

    See our review of "Come A Little Closer"!



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