Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Incubus Slows Things Down, But Not in a Good Way

I have been a big Incubus fan for a long time. As a matter of fact, they are coming to Charlotte, where I live, in September and though I will probably be going alone I plan on being there. With that disclaimer, I have to say I am slightly disappointed in their newest work "If Not Now, When?" .

Here in Charlotte the main rock station is 1065 the End, and a couple of months ago when the single 'Adolescents' was aired, a staff member from the producing company of the CD came to the studio with a preview of the new CD for the staff. A particular DJ named Rozak described the ordeal, as the CD could not leave the specific boom-box CD player brought in and time was cut rather short. The only way he could describe it was 'different'. Those words seem to resonate with me every time I listen to a track from the album. Over all, it is actually a very well done album. The songs are solid, lyrics strong and it still retains the over all feel of Incubus, but no matter how I try I can't seem to shake the feeling of disappointment.

Much like most bands I listened to during my middle school and high school careers, Incubus has taken up a softer approach to creating music. This isn't a bad thing what so ever, as numerous bands this year alone have released solid albums that I have praised for changing the tone, such as Linkin Park's "Thousand Suns" and Seether's "Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray". From what I can tell, the major difference between these bands and Incubus's transition is that Incubus has a solid catalogue of soft and mellow songs that are accentuated by the harder songs fairly evenly in their albums since "Morning View" and this transition to primarily softer sounds in "If Not Now, When?" seems to throw off this balance.
Do not mistake what I am saying, because these songs on this album are good songs. 'Thieves', 'Switchblade', and 'Defiance' lean towards more traditional Incubus songs, with great lyrics and music to accompany it. However, they remind me of B-list movies with your favorite actors: good when you want a fix of that specific actor or actress, but there are better selections out there when they are available. There just doesn't seem to be much of a hook in them as needed. The less traditional songs have more hooks and quirks to them, which does make them unique and interesting. 'In the Company of Wolves' and 'The Original' remind me very much of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", with trippy orchestral and lyrical riffs while 'If Not Now, When?' works like an orchestral piece, building and backing off to an excellent finish. The leading radio track, 'Adolescents' is the perfect song to release on the radio, but it feels like the rest of the tracks: lacking.

I wanted this album to be one of my tops of the 2011 year, but no matter how much I want it, it's not happening. As I said before, it is a good album, but it's just lacking, especially for such a strong band as Incubus.

Here are some links with more info about the band:
The Band's Official Site:
The Wiki Page:
The Music Video for 'Adolescents':

Recommended Tracks:
'In the Company of Wolves', 'If Not Now, When?', 'Defiance', 'Thieves'

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