Cage the Elephant’s ‘Melophobia’ album review

Cage the Elephant's 'Melophobia' album review

RCA Records

On Oct. 8, indie-rock band Cage the Elephant released their third full-scale 10 track album, Melophobia.  The band’s first album, self-titled, and second album, “Thank You, Happy Birthday,” contain top 10 alternative rock hits such as “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” “In One Ear,” and “Shake Me Down.”  With 375,000 sales in the US alone on their previous albums, as well as recent mainstream success on radio stations and at music concerts and festivals, Melophobia is anticipated to be their best selling album thus far.

Opening the album is the uncut, heavily distorted song “Spiderhead.” Accompanying the hard rocking rhythm guitar, the most interesting part of this song is the end, with a build that drops into a half-time synthesized instrumental.

The single that was previously released, “Come a little Closer,” takes the second spot on the album. The combination of synth and vocal patterns evoke a feeling similar to the album’s title, which, though the word is made up, possibly means the fear of melody.

The album slows down for the track, “Telescope.” Wavering from the normal sound that the band strives, the song is similar in composure to an 80’s rock ballad. While achieving an entirely different sound, the distorted, semi-screamed vocals identify the band in a distinct manner.

“It’s Just Forever” begins with a driving blues riff that leads the song to a female accompanist’s part late in the song.

The album changes to a nearly clean cut instrumental sound for the track, “Take it or Leave it.” Minus the vocals, the song sounds similar to the music of the Beach Boys, with a more mellow guitar sound, and an open sounding drum kit. The next track, “Halo” has a very similar sound, introducing some background brass instruments into the mix.

“Black Widow” stretches into a higher vocal range, almost mocking the high-ranged male singers of the pop music industry. This track also includes a brass section as a supporting instrument.

Slowing down the album again, “Hypocrite” focuses less on the guitar and vocals, including the most interesting drum part on the entire album. The song builds as it progresses, rather than just for the choruses of the song, creating an unconventional sound.

The first noise in “Teeth” is the use of feedback from the guitar. This song matches the typical sound that the band aims for, sounding the most similar to hit songs like “In One Ear,” and “Shake Me Down.”

“Cigarette Daydreams” starts out with acoustic guitar and acoustic piano, unprecedented sound for the album — an unexpectedly pleasant ending to a very loud and rambunctious sounding album.

Overall, Melophobia is a showcase of the band’s presence. Critics openly bash the band’s concerts and live music, in some cases rightly so. While it is not nearly as detectable by their discography, lead singer Matt Shultz embodies the wild, rebellious, and sometimes flatout morally incorrect side of rock music in his performances. From crowd surfing, to running around stage with his shirt off, Shultz does not embrace the idea that popular musicians are chill and subtle. His mentality gets out of hand quickly, and he rejects social normalities and uses shock value to his advantage rather than just relying on his talent, naturally setting himself apart from the competitors in his genre.

From beginning to end, the songs leave listeners wanting more, whether that be from actually enjoying it or just being astounded by what they just heard. Though the album consisted of predictable sounds generally speaking, each song has a very unique sound, while still being unified by the album’s name. The certainty of Cage the Elephant’s new album is that if Melophobia was a real condition, this band leaves listeners in awesome fear.