Following the release of their first live album entitled Unpeeled, Cage The Elephant have spent much of this year showcasing their music in a very special and intricate way. Stripping back old, fan favourite tracks such as Rubber Ball, Cigarette Daydreams and Right Before My Eyes, they have also reimagined The Stranglers’ Golden Brown, Daft Punk’s Instant Crush and Wreckless Eric’s 1977 classic, Whole Wide World.
Cage The Elephant have released videos of their intimate shows across the U.S. to pair with the songs on Unpeeled, allowing fans a rare and previously unseen perception of the rockers. While many bands have taken to releasing live albums, it is always intriguing to hear and see how artists who are infamous for their punk-rock influences are going to strip back their songs. As frontman, Matt Shultz, has noted, “Many times you’re adding sonic layers looking for something to hide behind, and what you don’t realize is that that vulnerability and that nakedness might be the most compelling and interesting thing about the song.”
This much is certainly evident with the band’s rendition of Whole Wide World as they take to it with a bevy of string instruments and Shultz’s classically youthful, offbeat voice to remaster it into something exceedingly romantic and incredibly energetic. In the rustic-tinged video they have shared, Shultz comfortably dances around in front of a packed theatre, and everyone on stage smiles as they tap away on tambourines and gaze out at the adoring crowd who are clearly captivated by the endearingly erratic Shultz (also proving yet again that there is nothing better than live music).
Unpeeled shows the band in a light that is unique and authentic, a remarkable feat to accomplish and something that is much-needed in a music-era that is dominated by electronica. Hearing the band’s classic tracks stripped back offers a welcome bout of nostalgia, and an intimacy that is not unlike meeting with an old friend. This will be the band’s fifth, and arguably most sprawling album to date, boasting 21 tracks and with each one more enthralling than the last.
Notable standouts include Trouble, Too Late To Say Goodbye, Right Before My Eyes and Instant Crush (if you want to experience the strings in their full glory). But don’t just take my word for it – go ahead and watch the entire album unfold right here.