If Not Now, When? – Incubus

If Not Now, When?

Incubus

2011

Epic

Incubus is a curious band to me; I heard of them about the same time as most people did, when “Drive” seemed to be playing on at least two radio stations at any given point of the day.  In fact, I even went out and purchased that album, but I just couldn’t quite sell myself on the band.  Fast forward to earlier this year, when a friend of mine and I were swapping music.  She told me about Brandon Boyd and I thought to myself, “wow, I can’t get over how familiar his voice sounds…”  It was like having an epiphany when I came to realize that he was the lead singer of Incubus.  I highly recommend checking out his solo offering, but more recently Incubus has released a new album:  If Not Now, When?

The album starts off with a tune that is reminiscent of Blondie’s sound to me, but doesn’t have quite the synthesized sound that protrudes through Blondie’s catalogue.  The album’s title track sets a nice tone for the album as a whole and especially for the next track, “Promises, Promises.”  This being the first song I had heard off this album, I’m inclined to like it very much but that’s not the only reason to do so.  It’s quite a good song, and exemplifies how Boyd can evoke emotion in the lyrics without needing to yell.  It’s something he does really well, and does through the whole album.

“Thieves” is another standout track featuring wonderful lyrics, which Boyd spews flawlessly.  One example of a line that really makes you think is “Oh everything is fine/As long as you’re a god-fearing, white american.”  To continue quoting some of my favorite lyrics, this time from “The Original,” we have “you’re a skeleton key, opening me.”  The entire track is quite good, but I am partial to the bridge near the end of the song.  It’s simple, but something about it just clicks with me.

I made mention of Boyd’s solo work (The Wild Trapeze) earlier in the review, and the best way to gauge if you’d enjoy it or not is to listen to “Defiance” off of this Incubus album.  It’s short and simple, but damn if it isn’t one of my favorite tracks off this record.

“In The Company Of Wolves” is an interesting track.  At first glance, the length seems somewhat daunting, though not quite to Sufjan levels (“Impossible Soul,” anyone?).  However, it’s definitely a good thing they didn’t cut the song down like most bands today might.  In the middle, there’s a short interlude before the melody returns, then fades into a slight cacophany as the song soldiers to it’s conclusion.

“Switchblade” seems an interesting with it’s verses, but the chorus reminds us that it’s Incubus, and not Chronic Future on ritalin.  “Adolescents” is the track where we most see the whole band come into play, their parts outshining Boyd’s vocals at times.  This isn’t a bad thing though, and I think it actually reminds us that there’s more to the band than the frontman.  The album closer, “Tomorrow’s Food” just forces me to draw comparisons to the Shins.  It’s a slow, mellow song with not a lot of vocals, though they aren’t as understated as Mercer’s tend to be on such tracks.

Overall, I can make two comparisons with this album.  On some tracks, it sounds like an American Analog Set album with less electronic effect.  On others, like a collection of mellow Foo Fighters songs.  We can discuss how Boyd is a much more refined vocalist than Grohl another time.  For now I’ll just say that I like when Dave belts out his lyrics, so no negative meaning was implied with that statement.  At any rate, I’ve enjoyed this new album, and it definitely has made me go back and re-listen to Make Yourself and indulge in more of Incubus’ catalogue.  Nothing on this album may match the success that “Drive” had some years ago, but that may not be a bad thing.  After listening to this record a few times, I can definitely offer my opinion that it isn’t.

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One Response to “If Not Now, When? – Incubus”

  1. Nicholas Says:

    Science and Fungus Amongus are the only two Incubus albums you need.

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