Review: ‘Social Cues’ pleases new-age rock fans

Cage The Elephant releases long-awaited fifth album

Courtesy of RCA Records.

Courtesy of RCA Records.

Indie rock band, Cage The Elephant released its fifth studio album, “Social Cues,” Friday, April 19. The band’s first album, the self titled “Cage The Elephant” in 2008, created impressive commercial success with radio hit “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” While keeping the indie rock genre, the band gives a refreshing twist to not bore its listeners.

The first out of 13 tracks, “Broken Boy,” throws out feelings of misplacement. A prominent drumming beat throughout the entire song makes for a catchy start to the album. Although, an abrupt ending to the already short song comes unexpected in the middle of the last chorus. The band leaves the listeners wanting more.

“Social Cues,” the same title as the album, follows quickly after “Broken Boy.” A light, indie rock sound continues to this track, yet the lyrics tell about someone lost in the music industry. Lyrics like “People say you’re the next big thing” and “People always say, ‘Man, at least you’re on the radio,’” followed by references of drugs and how “they’ll ease the pain” imitates the sadistic side of the industry. “The best die young, immortalized,” takes a hit at several amazing artists who died at a young age, usually of drugs. The band wonderfully keeps it’s creepy sound, as well as talking about hard hitting issues.

Keeping the upbeat vibe, “Dance Dance” references symptoms of Synesthesia using the lyric “polyphony visions.” Synesthesia, a condition where two of your senses can correlate together is popular among many artists. The track, “Skin and Bones,” placed farther up on the album also mentions this, saying “Close my eyes and drift into the silence, barely see the ultra violent.” Furthermore, both of these songs mention ‘diamonds’ with intentions for it to relate to their idea of hiding clues about “polyphonic visions,” (musically, when two sounds are projected at once). The band keeps up its angst and catchy music and fans have fun making connections from song to song. For either the ones who can or can’t relate to the phenomenon of “polyphony visions,” this album is a need for any indie rock fan.

The track “House Of Glass” is repetitive and the lyrics feel almost hypnotic. The pre-chorus and chorus don’t change through the song, it’s the same few lines repeated over and over, beating the message in the audience’s heads. Analogies of a glass house are made over and over, as well, pulling back in the theme of the twisted music industry from “Social Cues.” Calling admiration an illusion, singing of repeating everything in the same order, Cage The Elephant drags people in with the hard-hitting rock sound.

The last two tracks, “Tokyo Smoke” and “Goodbye” represent complete opposites to each other. “Tokyo Smoke” starts off with a loud and fast guitar sound, quickly moving into the band’s signature deep, husky voice. Oddly using light instrumentals, the latter utilizes violins accompanying soft vocals while repeating phrases like “Goodbye,” “I won’t cry” and “It’s alright.” Even though the entirety of the album has been a fast paced joy ride of angst, ending with a subtle and calming song wraps up an unexpected conclusion.

Artists not changing their styles through their careers can be their fall, but Cage The Elephant has expertly kept its sound, and it’s always as refreshful as the last. This album deserves 4 out of 5 stars. While it’s not perfect, “Social Cues” replenishes the indie rock scene with another strange and emotional album.