Release Year: 2006
Incubus is a pretty awesome band. They have a lot of great albums under their belt, but I was always skeptical of this one. I got it as a gift. When I first heard it I didn’t like it very much, but I decided to give it another chance. The album is much better than I thought. Sure, it doesn’t sound like their previous records since the music isn’t as intense, but there are still of number great tracks that show a softer side of the band.
One difference I noticed about the album is the music doesn’t seem as diverse as before. Previously, Incubus mixed elements of funk, hip hop, and rock. Here, they mainly stick with rock with a bit of folk thrown in for some of the softer numbers. This doesn’t take away from the record, but it makes the music a little less interesting. The plus side is sometimes it makes you notice the lyrics more, like on the track “Diamonds and Coal.” There really isn’t anything remarkable about the music; it sounds nice, but nothing about it stands out. Yet, the lyrics really catch your attention with the clever imagery: “If its good to instigate/then we’re a fast horse/bet on us/I’m not calling you an animal/I think we just fight too much.” Not only is this a cool way to describe the kinks in the a relationship, but its a good representation of what the song is about. It seems like we get to see them grow as songwriters on this release.
Though the music isn’t the same as before, there are still some songs that really catch your attention. “Anna Molly” is one of the best tracks on the album. It has a great rapid pace that puts you on edge and the guitar playing is intense; it sounds like they’re ripping the guitar in half. The energetic, aggressive music really drives the song. Plus, it’s catchy too. “Light Grenades” is another song that starts off really frantic with a fast pace that creates this chaotic mood. Because of the music, the lightening fast singing you can barely understand, and a sick guitar solo that sounds like a warning makes it as close to a punk song they’ll get. The band keeps up the energetic vibe with “Rogues;” its fast music makes you want to bounce around the room, but it has the tendency of blending in with the other tracks at times.
Though the band mellows out on this album, it doesn’t mean the songs are bad. The opener “Quicksand” begins with dreamy music that’s interrupted by strange, unsettling electronic noises. Brandon Boyd begins singing in a way that makes him sound haunting; not only does he stretch out every note, his every inflection echos throughout. It’s a short track, but one of the most sonically interesting. “Earth to Bella 1” starts out with quiet acoustic guitar for the most part. Suddenly, it erupts into a violent guitar solo before going back to the soft sound. The loud/quiet dynamic works best here because it keeps the song from getting too slow and boring.
Another thing that seems strange about the record is how it mainly deals with love and relationships. The band has written about these topics in the past, but just about the entire record is filled with songs about them. “Dig” is a weird sort of romantic track talking about having one person who is the most important to you in the world. “A Kiss to Send Us Off” is notable for lyrics that get way too visual about kissing: “No more words/just the sound of resplendent/tongues colliding.” It’s kind of interesting, but kind of gross as well. “Oil and Water” is a cool song that uses the title as a metaphor for a relationship that just isn’t working, and the subdued “Love Hurts” is self explanatory. Some of these songs are better than others, but none of them are remarkably bad.
Overall, the album gets 8/10. While it’s not as strong as their other records, it’s still a really great effort. Though the band mellow out with the music here, we get to see them grow as songwriters. There are some tracks that have the old Incubus aggression and rock vibe, but a lot of them take a softer route. Unlike their past efforts, every track here isn’t remarkable, but even the filler songs are at least tolerable. One thing is for sure, this is way better than their last album.