Melophobia review by Cage the Elephant

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  • Released: Oct 8, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (28 votes)
Cage the Elephant: Melophobia

Sound — 7
Cage The Elephant was formed in 2006 and received pretty much instant success with the release of their first album in 2008. While their sound has been fairly eclectic, the band has a character which is unmistakable and helps them stand out to listeners. It has been two years since their last release, and the album has been much awaited by their fans. This is the band's third album and has 10 tracks and a runtime under 40 minutes. The first single from the album is "Come a Little Closer" which was released in August 2013.

The album opens with the track "Spiderhead," which finds them sounding more like their sound from their sophomore release, than their debut. There is definitely an element of punk rock as well as something that is vaguely retro. Their lead single, "Come a Little Closer," is the second track on the album which is carried in large part by the bassline and almost slurred vocals in the verses. "Telescope" has an almost psychedelic feel to it, and seems to be about Matthew Shultz's recent time spending time at his home, decorating and such. "It's Just Forever" goes even further into that psychedelic type of sound with some seriously fuzzed guitar and pounding bassline, and some female vocals by Alison Mosshart adding some more texture to the song during the chorus. "Take It or Leave It" makes use of some analog sounding delay kind of reaching back to surf rock while keeping the modern elements that make Cage The Elephant the band that they are. "Halo" uses some interesting guitar noise, and again this track is propelled forward by the bass. "Black Widow" has a really interesting tremolo effect going on for part of the sing and finds Shultz singing in a fairly high register for a lot of the song - once again, this song sounds really retro - thinking late '50s or '60s, with a splash of weirdness. "Hypocrite" is possibly my favorite track on the album, mainly because it is played pretty loose, uses non-traditional percussion sounds and surreal lyrics. "Teeth" is a driving song with the the guitar opening with some screaming feedback and goes into something you might have expected Kurt Cobain to play while messing around in the garage. This song also has a cool driving bassline. The album closes out with the track "Cigarette Daydreams," which is an acoustic track with some reverb soaked vocals. It creates a cool mood to close the album out on.

Lyrics — 8
Matthew Shultz has a lot of character in his voice, which really does a lot for me in the realm of vocalists. He does a good job on the album, going from an almost slurred lazy voice to a plaintive whine and everything inbetween. The backup vocals are solid throughout the album, as well. The female vocals by Alison Mosshart used on the track "It's Just Forever" was definitely a nice touch. As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some lyrics from the track "Cigarette Daydreams": "Did you stand there all alone? / Oh I cannot explain what's going down/ I can see you standing next to me/ In and out somewhere else right now/ You sigh look away/ I can see it clear as day/ Close your eyes so afraid/ Hide behind that baby face/ You can drive all night/ Looking for answers in the pouring rain/ You wanna find peace of mind/ Looking for the answer/ Funny how it seems like yesterday/ As I recall you were looking out of place/ Gathered up your things and slipped away/ No time at all I followed you into the hall/ Cigarette Daydreams."

Overall Impression — 8
I've enjoyed most everything that Cage The Elephant has done, and feel the same about this album. While their sound is distinctive, they've added an element of some older music from the '50s, '60s and '70s in various songs on the album and have really branched out creatively. My favorite tracks on the album would probably be "Hypocrite," "Come a Little Closer" and "Cigarette Daydreams." The band also has some kind of knack at creating a certain mood with their music that I can't quite define, but makes me feel more carefree than before I listened to the album.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Always been curious about this band since their song was used in Borderlands. Might finally give 'em a shot.
    Get the first album man, the one with the song you're talking about, I think its absolute gold, it has so much energy and its just pure rock music all the way through. I enjoyed the second album alright, there are some really good songs on it but its a dramatic leap from their first album. This new one, Melophobia, I listened to it online and I'm pretty happy with it, it's like the happy median of what they have put out so far.
    I really enjoyed the first album and I loved Thank You Happy Birthday too, perhaps even more so than the first. The experimentation into a noisier realm was really cool to me. This 3rd album seems like a healthy bridge between the two to me and to be honest, I wasn't too thrilled with Come A Little Closer but the rest of the album is pretty solid. And on aside note: Guest spot by Alison? Fuck yea
    Their second album was a disappointment. First album is the best by far.
    Yeah go for that first album if you're looking for an awesome straight up rock record. Aint No Rest for the Wicked is strangely the odd song out on that one. It's weird that it happens to be the song they are most famous for because it sounds nothing like the rest of the album. But that record is incredible. Easily one of the best rock records of the last decade. The second album is a dramatic departure. It felt over produced to me. I still enjoyed it a lot, but not nearly as much as the first one.
    "and some female vocals adding some more texture to the song during the chorus." Some female vocals? SOME FEMALE VOCALS?!? That's Alison Mosshart you ignoramus! Anyway, I really like this album. The first two were both excellent and this really continues the trend of changing their sound but keeping what makes Cage Cage. Matt's rambling at the end of Teeth is brilliant, and this is probably his best vocal performance yet across the album, so much variety. Love the falsetto on Black Widow.
    This album needs a few listens to fully enjoy it. In my opinion there is no songs that will top the charts like "ain't no rest" or "Shake me down" did but from beginning to end it's solid. Not as great as the debut album tho but like another person said "a happy medium between debut and TYHB"
    I completely agree with you. It was a great album but the songs weren't as catchy. But who cares about catchiness? Good music is good music. :']
    Took a couple weeks to win me over but now I really appreciate this album. Take it or Leave it, Halo, and Cigarette Daydreams are pure Cage the Elephant tracks and my favorites from Melophobia.
    I'm surprised it didn't gather a higher rating from the reviewer, he seemed totally positive on the album! Anyway, a fantastic leap forward again. Changing their sound but keeping the character. These are some really talented dudes that make superb music. This is equal best with their debut in my eyes. More polished and a lot more 'experimental' in comparison though.
    I honestly thought that the alum was disappointing. better than the second, but still, not that great.