Cage The Elephant – Neon Pill 

A tight, refreshing return...

Cage The Elephant have been a consistent force on the indie scene since the release of their debut album in 2008 which contained the smash hit ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked’. The Kentucky group now returns with their sixth album ‘Neon Pill’, their first record since 2019. 

‘Hifi’ is a shimmery way to start things off, fit for the summer months, poppier than some of their previous work but with plenty to admire. ‘Rainbow’ continues in this vein, with Matt Shultz’s smooth vocals a departure from the more blues / garage sound of some of their previous work. Despite the shift, there is something warm about this new direction perfect for a summer evening. It shows a willingness to try something new and prove they are more than a one-trick pony. 

The title has more of an Indie vibe to it, more of a showcase for Nick Bockrath’s guitar work, acting in some ways as a bridge between the group’s earlier sound and the slicker sound of this LP, impressively so. ‘Float in The Sky’ contrasts this with a more mellow, soft-rock intro built around the piano and acoustic guitar, in its second half it builds into something more experimental and left field, it will be one to watch out for at live shows with the sudden shift. 

‘Metaverse’, recalls the garage-rock scene of the early 2000s with riffs that could almost be directly lifted from early Strokes albums, at just over two minutes it is a sharp jolt of rock ‘n’ roll, showing they’ve not lost any of their power to create something of this type. 

‘Ball And Chain’ is one of the standouts with an infectious opening bassline that drives it. There is a real sense of fun on display as each member tries to find room to make themselves heard. 

With 12 tracks coming in under 40 minutes, there is a sense of tightness and professionalism from Cage The Elephant. It is an ambitious record that feels familiar and fresh in equal measure as they tinker with what has worked for them in the past. There are elements of their blues and garage roots with a more Indie-Pop sound that will suit the festival season. If perhaps lacking something as standout as ‘Mess Around’ or ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’, it is a welcome return for the Kentucky rockers showing after nearly 20 years together they still know how to groove. 

7/10  

Words: Christopher Connor

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.