Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant
Photo credit: Pooneh Ghana

The Kentucky-based band Cage the Elephant plays a novel mixture of rock, blues and alternative but you’d be hard-pressed to hear Outkast as an influence on their sound. That all changed today, as the band shared “Mess Around” the first single from their upcoming album Tell Me I’m Pretty, which singer Matt Shultz said was inspired by the iconic Atlanta rap group.

“A couple years ago I saw OutKast doing their festival circuit. Andre 3000’s delivery and his sense of melody was inspiring to me,” Shultz told Consequence of Sound. “I was wondering if there was a way to create an alternative song with a similar kind of energy, marrying that with a Byrds or a Creedence Clearwater Revival stylistic color.”

Amazingly, that’s a pretty apt description of “Mess Around.” The manic energy of the chorus gives way to a more jangly verse and the dynamics in the song are unlike anything the band has attempted before. Listen to the new track below.

Tell Me I’m Pretty was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and his influence is evident on the new single, which features one of his signature guitar solos. Shultz told CoS that Auerbach was a “perfect choice” to produce the new album.

“His approach to production was really refreshing,” Shultz said of Auerbach. “One of things he tries to do is keep you from second-guessing yourself or overthinking an idea. A lot of the songs on the record are one take, a lot of the vocals are scratch vocals. He’s a very reactive producer.”

Tell Me I’m Pretty will be out on December 18. Take a listen to “Mess Around” below. Cage the Elephant is scheduled to play the KROQ Halloween Costume Ball in Los Angeles on October 30 and 107.7 The End’s Deck the Hall Ball in Seattle on December 8.