Matthew Shultz, center, with bandmates Cage The Elephant.
Colin Lane

“It’s about always being in that mode of learning,” says CAGE THE ELEPHANT frontman Matthew Shultz (pictured above, center) of his band’s constant need to evolve. Four years after the Kentucky rockers dropped their self-titled debut, they return this month with a third full-length effort. Like its predecessors, Melophobia (RCA Records, $10) draws heavily from the band’s varied musical influences. American Way asked Shultz to reveal which artists impacted each of the band’s three albums.

CAGE THE ELEPHANT (2009): “We hadn’t been exposed to a whole lot. Really the only music available to us that held a special sentiment at the time was classic rock. We were listening to a lot of [The Rolling] Stones, a lot of [Jimi] Hendrix, a lot of Bob Dylan.”

THANK YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY (2011): “We moved over to London, and we were exposed to so much more music. I had a big sit-down with my uncle, and he turned me on to stuff like Tommy James and the Shondells, The Zombies, The Turtles, Dick Dale.”

MELOPHOBIA (2013): “One of the artists that has been hugely influential to us is David Bowie. He would make music that would sound so familiar but he would use the furthest reaches of the technology that was available to him at that time. So [this album], it sounds like something your parents may have listened to growing up as far as the sentiment, but the sonics are new and fresh and different.”