Social Cues is already the fifth studio album by Cage the Elephant. The band has been going on for 11 years. After a few songs I know already that I’ll have to listen this album a few times before I can pass judgement. The reason is the absolute polished (and sometimes predictable?) sound of this album.
For a band that was put down as an Alt-Rock band with Dave Grohl filling in on drums, this sounds very “Brit” poppy. On Social Cues, Cage the Elephant shows a preference for drum machines and keyboards over guitar.
Having said that (and after listening it a few times), this is not a bad album at all. It does show variety from the Bowie-like title track to the much darker ‘Night Running’. The latter features Beck who joins Cage as joint headliner on their supporting tour.
Another comparison I can make is Kaiser Chiefs, especially on ‘Ready to let Go’, but it’s a feeling I had throughout the album.
‘Love’s the Only Way’ surprisingly reminds me of John Lennon in its composition and close mic singing.
Just before the slow dark ‘Goodbye’ with interesting tempo, strings and loads of long piano chords, Cage the Elephant treats us to my favorite of this album, ‘Tokyo Smoke’.
I was really surprised with the new direction that Cage has taken on this album, but I think this album will do well. The majority of songs are extremely radio friendly, the production is very nice and makes the variety of the 13 songs still a whole album. Guess the guitarist in me would have loved some more guitars though.
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Musician. Music Critic. Born and bred in Holland, but living in South Africa