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Cage the Elephant "Out Loud & Neon Pill" - Single Review

5.5/10

Cage the Elephant "Neon Pill" - Single Review

Cage the Elephant has a bright history with us here at Melophobe. The band’s 2013 release Melophobia is not only where our name originated from but was one of the few albums to receive a perfect 10/10 score from us. Since the band dropped Melophobia in 2013, Cage the Elephant has had a relatively checkered past by our account. 2015’s Tell Me I’m Pretty was, and still is held in relatively high regard by us, whereas 2019’s Social Cues was pretty uninteresting (mostly the second half), as the band continued to diverge from the garage rock revival sound they so expertly excelled at. Five years later, and the band now has another full-length record on the horizon with an expected release date of May 17th this year.


Now, with the new record on the horizon, the band dropped a two-song single set entitled Out Loud on February's extra day, the 29th, this year. The single set comprises two very different sounding tracks, with listeners dramatically being drawn towards track two, Neon Pill, more so than track one, Out Loud. Out Loud takes listeners in a direction well divergent from Cage’s raw, powerful garage sound. Out Loud is a somber, emotional, piano-driven tune where, to his credit, vocalist Matt Shultz expresses his often bottled-up vocal ability, especially at lower ranges. Nevertheless, I think it would be safe to assume songs like this won't intrigue Cage fans all that much, and the stream counts already speak to that immensely. Matt's a good vocalist, but that's not niche. A dramatic mental image of Matt standing in some concert hall, donned in red, accompanied by a piano player to his side performing this song is not the image one would associate with Melophobia or Thank You, Happy Birthday. Regardless, if Social Cues told us anything, that sadly seems to be the direction Cage the Elephant is going.

Track two, Neon Pill, is a much more intriguing tune on the single set, attracting more attention from listeners. Neon Pill sounds of the Tell Me I’m Pretty sound with the band positively venturing into fresh territory while still sounding like Cage the Elephant. Brad’s guitar sounds like Brad’s guitar, the drums are impactful, and the mix is somewhat garage-like, albeit a crisper cut. Neon Pill ought to leave fans somewhat optimistic although this does leave us with a problem here. The record dropping in May will be called Neon Pill, leading to fear that the track will be the record's highlight, perhaps resulting in some skip-worthy tunes if the band can’t top that. It certainly is speculative and could very well not be the case, but if they're naming the record that, then it’s probably for good reason.


Cage the Elephant is in an interesting position right now. Aside from a few tracks from Social Cues, much of that record ventured in a direction that many found simply uninteresting, potentially offering the band a chance to deeply intrigue fans again, as they did with Melophobia. Although there doesn't seem to be a clear indication that they will steer away from the Social Cues direction, if they do manage to recapture and evolve the garage rock sound that bolstered their popularity, then the upcoming record could be an exciting one. It would be unfortunate if the alt giants of Cage the Elephant released another generic sounding LP...


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