God dammit, it’s a fact of life that if you can’t get enough Cage the Elephant, then you’re not functioning as a human being properly. They just have the ultimate cowboy swagger mixed with undulated energy that makes them irrisistable to the naked ear, a concoction of Tom Cruise Cocktail levels of proffessionalism. After two solid albums that showed no sign of Cage the Elephant slowing down, we, the music-loving public, were presented with the single ‘Come A Little Closer’. At first, I was shattered. I just…what the fuck? This sucks! Right? However, after a few more listens, I soon discovered, that maybe I might like this song. A couple more listens, and I was obsessed (Trademark Mariah Carey, 2009). ‘Come A Little Closer’ became ‘Melaphobia’s ‘Shake Me Down’, a weird turn for the band that turns out to be incredibly rewarding. Fast forward to the record, and there is no such sign of a struggle for obssession to be found. ‘Melophobia’ is both a consistent step of pulsing energy, comforting strangeness and catchy as fuck riffery.
It all changed when the opening track ‘Spiderhead’ rocks up, guns fucking blazing, and a mission to be the catchiest thing since that strain of herpes back in ’93 (read that last sentence in Clint Eastwood’s voice circa-Dirty Harry). It’s a song that switches between being as fluid as those super crazy inflatable men you see outside dodgy car sales places, and being an extremely compact chunky thing, like a compressed Jack N the Box. And for the most part, that insane energy is encapsulated. Songs like ‘It’s Just Forever’ a dirty song that belongs on the underside of a jukebox in Texas (it also features the amazing vocals of The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, FUCK YEAH!), or ‘Halo’ a track with the restraint of a two year old in a chocolate factory, who’s been specifically told not to eat any chocolate. And you can’t talk about ‘Melophobia’ without mentioning ‘Black Widow’, a song that sounds half like a dominatrix’s stiletto being pressed into your head, half like cocaine being poured into the back of your throat.
Although the songs of pure hedonism are the ones that really make this album stand out, the simpler tracks on here do make a lovely impression as well. The aforementioned ‘Come A Little Closer’, which admittedly takes a while to warm up to, is a standout track on the record, and ‘Telescope’ and album closer ‘Cigarette Day Dreams’ are very well written songs, musically and lyrically. They’re not Pulitzer Prize winning by any standard, but then again, do you want Cage the Elephant to be all tuxedo’d up, awkwardly accepting a Grammy for something that’s meant to tug you pube-first into moshpit mania?
Cage the Elephant have delivered a very capable album, a word that I never thought I’d use to describe them. There’s the howling mischievousness that we all know and love, and the loose cannon vibe is most certainly there (thank god). But the band have broadened their horizons, and they haven’t fucked up, edging out into the water with really great results. Unlike I initially assumed, the songs on ‘Melophobia’ have an instantaneous effect, and ‘Come A Little Closer’ is just an outlier. For those who loved Cage the Elephant, you won’t be disapointed. For those who don’t know Cage the Elephant…do people like you even exist anymore?
Cage the Elephant will be releasing ‘Melophobia’ on October 8th, and you should fork out cash for it, y’know if you want to own good music, and hold some semblence of being cool. Sample conversation: cool person ‘Fuck off loser’, you ‘I got ‘Melophobia’!’, cool person ‘Rad! Let’s hang out!’. There, Cage the Elephant have saved your social life. Again.