Four years after their last album ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’, Kentucky rockers Cage the Elephant are back with their fifth studio album Social Cues.
CTE have always been hard to nail down, having previously experimented with blues and garage rock. Social Cues follows this eclectic formula with an array of synth pop and post-punk sounds that have a refreshing 80s’ inspired groove.
CTE have always been hard to nail down
These often upbeat and danceable instrumentals juxtapose what is lyrically quite a dark album. Lead single ‘Ready to Let Go’ epitomises this sombre theme as singer Matt Schultz mourns his recent divorce. The line “sun goes down over Pompeii, on holy ground our vows were broken” refers to the moment Schultz and his wife agreed to separate.
‘Night Running’ is perhaps the most surprising cut on the album, featuring 90’s alternative rock icon Beck. The song has a reggae beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Police album. Nonetheless, ‘Night Running’ seamlessly blends this Rastafarian sound with Beck’s heavier vocals, showing a real finesse from Grammy award winning producer John Hill. Hill’s other works include working closely with Eminem and Rihanna.
Social Cues is a fascinating and reflective album which flows seamlessly from one track to the next, each song representing a story or emotion in a tale of a broken marriage. CTE have delivered a contemporary masterpiece on love and loss in the modern age. The personal touch of Matt Schultz has reinvigorated the band through his heartfelt lyricism which has arguably produced the band’s best album to date.