by Abi Whistance
The release of Social Cues is accompanied by a brand new era for Cage The Elephant, and this era may not be a marked as a great one in history. It’s hard to know what audience the alt-rockers are trying to appeal to, and with the puzzling direction the band seem to be heading in it seems this may not just be an odd phase.
The accessible nature of Social Cues means that it appeals to the majority of regular folk, but with such cynical lyrical content it’s a shame they didn’t feel the need to create something with a bit more grit to it. With so many avenues Cage The Elephant could have explored it’s relatively disappointing they’ve produced what can only be described as coffee-shop music, with very little on the album having the capacity to grab anyone’s attention for a brief moment, let alone for forty minutes.
There’s a fundamental difference between a record that flows cohesively and an album full of tracks that all sound so similar that you’re not sure what you’re listening to anymore, and this is the fundamental issue with Social Cues. Each song drifts into the next aimlessly, with little to no distinguishing features allowing you to separate them.
This, of course, would be perfectly acceptable if listening to the nonchalant background sounds of Beach House or Ariel Pink, but that isn’t what you expect to be listening to when you hear Cage The Elephant; most still associate them with the punchy tracks of their self-titled way back in 2008, and although they’ve been unable to hit the mark like that again we can’t help but get our hopes up when we hear of new material in the works.
At its core, the album is simply commercial pop-rock. To be brutally honest, as disappointing as the album may be it’s no surprise when they’ve been heading this way for quite a while; the release of Tell Me I’m Pretty back in 2017, although slightly more attitude-driven, was equally as lacklustre.
It seems that Cage The Elephant just aren’t as exciting as they used to be, and whether this is just a minor hiccup in their musical journey or the beginning of the end is yet to be known for certain.