Since their inception, Cage The Elephant have released four studio albums. The first two were pretty good, but the latter half of their collection has seen them stall over the last few years. Running low on ideas is a natural progression for most bands, but the Kentucky-based outfit have an interesting trick up their sleeve for album number five. Dubbed 'Unpeeled', the release is half best-of collection and half live album. But all the tracks have been given a distinct reworking, offering fans a chance to hear their songs in a whole new light.
It does seem like a risky manoeuvre to take, considering that Cage The Elephant normally sound better when they are loud. But rather than go the full acoustic route, 'Unpeeled' sees them become this lo-fi, almost surf rock, band. With the introduction of string quartets smattered throughout, the record definitely gives a whole new angle to the group's normally raucous material and we see much calmer performance from frontman Matthew Shultz.
It is clear that the band have looked to engage more with their blues-inspired roots with this release, but I can't say it gives anything more than the original recordings did. The band have a reputation for being this out-of-control rock n roll outfit, and to remove that element you are left with a collection of mediocre reworks.