Cage The Elephant: Unpeeled

Cage the Elephant
(RCA Records)

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Raucous indie rockers Cage The Elephant have evolved a lot since they first played the Outside Lands Festival and Lollapalooza in 2009, and started getting noticed. Their sound has ranged from bluesy rock to noisy indie punk, and now back towards what seems to be a winning combination of many genres.

Their previous album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, illustrated their flexibility as a band and even won them a Grammy. With Unpeeled, Cage The Elephant is live and impressively tight while still retaining a feeling of candor and intimacy.

“Whole Wide World,” a cover of 70’s singer Wreckless Eric, is catchy to the point of contagion. “Sweetie Little Jean” is a strings-laden, fast-shuffling ballad with a sort of T. Rex vibe. Another one of my favorites is their rendition of Daft Punk’s “Instant Crush,” which really allows the string section to shine. “Shake Me Down,” which originated on a toy drum kit, achieves an epic quality highlighted by Dave Grohl’s contributions as their touring drummer. “Cold Cold Cold,” which was one of their Billboard charting singles from Tell Me I’m Pretty, is electric with its energy and contrast between the verses and choruses. They even cover The Stranglers with “Golden Brown,” and definitely do it justice. Unpeeled is an ideal introduction to the band and their growth over the years. It also just sounds good; it’s well-recorded and well-paced. Whether you’ve followed Cage The Elephant since their beginnings or are new to their music, this album is a perfectly crafted retrospective.

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About Adrian Halo

Adrian Halo is a queer trans artist who moved from Brooklyn to the Bay Area in 2015, where he plays bass and keyboards in various projects including his own electronic/industrial music solo act, Machines With Human Skin. He also enjoys skateboarding and hanging out with his two cats, Rico Suave and Frankie Sinatra.
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