Friday, April 29, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Incubus "If Not Now, When?"

Temporary album art
(Photo from

Last night, I raped my ears to the whole "If Not Now, When?" album (I know it's not out 'till July but I couldn't stand the itch). Incubus' 7th upcoming record. In the midst of my exploration, a tiny hint of sadness struck me when I came to a realization that Incubus is a reborn band. RIP to the old grunge/hyphy/experimental Incubus.

Well actually it died during Light Grenades but Light Grenades had a little of A Crow Left of the Murder in it. A Crow Left of the Murder had a little Morning View, Morning View had a little Make Yourself, Make Yourself had a little S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. had a little Fungus Amongus but If Not Now, When? isolated itself from the rest of the previous six albums. Some of the songs even had a little country feel to it. I guess change is good as long as you know they're the same people behind the magic and the inspiration from the previous records. The love and support is still there. Scratch that, will always and forever be there. Do not get me wrong, I do not completely hate the album, it's just a bit hard to digest.

My current top picks are: "Friends And Lovers", "Thieves", "Switch Blade", "The Original", "In The Company Of Wolves", and "Adolescents" of course. That's 6/11. Not bad. (Oh, and is it just me or "Promises, Promises" sounded like a Tim McGraw hit? Haha. Please excuse me from that death defying question I just asked.)
The songs were not the usual Incubus songs where the moment you first heard it, next thing you know you're constantly craving. But I'm sure these opinions will change through time. No doubt about that.
Steve and the band have actually been giving disclaimers that it's far from their previous records so I knew what to expect especially upon hearing "Adolescents" (which is a lovely song by the way. It had been on loop  for a hundred times now). 

Anything Incubus is appreciated and loved. That's a given fact. Who knows Incubus might jump on another different bandwagon on the next coming albums. I just have this automatic 'adjust' button to any Incubus song. It's just the way it questions asked.

I think some of us are hoping for another 'funkubus' (oops, I think I just coined a new term) record like S.C.I.E.N.C.E. but sorry folks, not gonna happen. Otherwise, it will just be a repetition...and change is better than repeating itself.

As predicted, my views have changed since I first heard it. I've added "Isadore", "If Not Now, When?", and "Promises, Promises" to my line up of preferred singles. So that's 9/11! Better? Yes! A little more digesting on "Defiance" and "Tomorrow's Food"...kinda hard to chew.
I've also appreciated "Thieves" more. I am madly in love with Mike's guitar arrangement! Now I think I know what the theme of this album is. It's spiritual and native! A perfect soundtrack to an earthly lifestyle. Also, props to Kilmore on the new equip he's been using on this album! I'm not sure if it's still the marxophone, the theremin or neither? Someone correct me.



  1. Tim McGraw huh? That ain't too bad. Other people think it might as well be a Taylor Swift song. ^.^ LOVE Friends and Lovers. In my opinion, it's the best song on the album (followed by INNW).

  2. Taylor Swift? Ha! I wonder what the band feels about that. Yeah, Friends and Lovers is the best followed by The Original! I have to give another hard listen to If Not Now When. Didn't really pay attention to that one.

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    1. If Not Now, When?

    Wow, this is different. Laid back, reserved and tasteful. Boyd's lower register kicks ass...not any woo-wooo's and aahhh's. Lyrics are simple, direct,and effective. Subtle transitions. Reminded in vibe of Kings of Leon's latest, Come around Sundown. Rhythm smooth and easy to sink into, but not unoriginal or boring at all.

  5. 2. Promises, Promises.

    I'd heard as much, but this album won't win over the old rocker Incubus fans. For me, it is already proving my theory that they explore new sonic landscapes in 2 album segments. Enjoy/SCIENCE, Make Yourself/Morning View, A Crow.../Light Grenades. I'd had a good feeling they'd pull a fast one this round. Moving on...

    So damn tasteful. These dudes be exercising restraint, like they got old or some shit. That's not an insult. I'm getting old too. Kinda been waiting for this exact feel from think, it's Incubus?

    unashamed fanboy of Incubus.

  6. 3. Friends and Lovers

    First 13 seconds set it in stone: This album is about maturing, in a few ways. As songwriters, musicians, BB's lyrics and vocal control/restraint. Guessing it'll be a good summer album, the non-insisting, groovy, chilled-down vibe. Nary a harsh tone over 3 tracks. Not expecting many or a wealth, anyway, by the end. Mike's guitar is as always, unique and terrific- catchy and kinda bluesy. Jose is amazing with subtlety. Ben also. BB's melody and the change to 2nd verse are spacy and ambient. Drum effects at end are great. As ever, production is kick-ass.

  7. 4. Thieves

    I'm getting more anxious to hear the next track each time...Pausing to write...hindering album experience...must go on...

    Oh...ok then. Nice guitar opening...a little bit more upbeat now....not alot. Jeez Ben's bass is so damn sweet. Harmonies on vox nice. Lyrics great. Mikey's tones are fuzzier here, but still not driving or overt. Asian in nature. Obvious lack of "riff-written" songs. Good times. There's Kilmore!(Bridge) That's sick. This track owns. Just pure Incubus original.

  8. 5. Isadore

    Guess I'll be listening without pause upon review's completion. Ha. I feel like this is their most unique, interesting shit since "Crow"...yeah I'm aware not everyone loves that one like me. Give it another go sometime. k....this one starts acoustic but the thick drum beat counters it, making it take its own shape. Seems to strike me as potential radio-play. Good good chorus. The rhythm against acoustic guitar is really neato. Lyrics have apparently been purposely taken to basic but poetic expression this CD. Great words, but not so wordy as in past. Who the fuck is Isadore? Ah well. Kilmore's vox-manipulation is here like Megalomaniac...phased harmonies layered behind main vox. Who's Erica? "goodbye Erica now I see that my worst fears were in tune". --Nice. Outro is again spaced and colorful.

  9. 6. The Original

    Just a comment. No cheesy fare like "Dig" or "Oil and Water" thus far. These tunes are soo effing beyond that, though somewhat "feminine" and laid back. This isn't an attempt to garner airplay. These sounds are honest.--

    Track name exactly reports first half of CD. Kilmore, or altered Jose intro's. Whaaa? Hard build-up?....and easy release. This shit is anti-Incubus, historically speaking. Bass and guitar interweave and are seamless. This is music to get stoned to and lay back eyes closed (or not). Chorus is pretty cool. Hmm. He said "girl". Off-putting. IDK.

    3:20-4:12.....Holy shite. THAT is how you rock when you have rocked every conceivable angle in the past. FUCK. Highlight of album, all the way till song's end.

  10. 7. Defiance.

    Halfway mark over, and so far so -what if the naysayers can't appreciate...this is Incubus at peak form. Fuck em. They can go listen to Seether and Chris Brown. Not sure what that means...

    Liking the flow very much...the track order and all.--

    Here's BB's woooo-woo's. Not overdone. Another tasty acoustic Mike lick. Page-esque. Lyrics are BB's signature "think alternatively" message, though once again nicely phrased and metaphored. and its over. Great acoustic/vocal track...with energy and exclaim.

  11. 8. In the Company of Wolves.

    (mistakenly put track "9" and had a little bout of depression. Whew.)

    Hmmmm.... open with Amazing Grace callback....ehh. Ah well. Further reading makes me appreciate the lyrical maturity again. Kudos, Boyd. This one's 7:35 in time? Longest 'bus track yet, save the Halo 2 tripfest. ---Open guitar and organ....already goodness. Ben showed subtle, classy style all over this disc. Cool vocal melody, great military march on snare 2nd verse. Perfect harmonies in verse....

    ***I spoil a section a bit as I music-gasm all on the PC. Don't read this impression while listening first time. DON'T.****


    Ha! Love them shits! 3:16....unforseeable transition...I paused to type and now I'm gonna piss myself in anticipation. These dudes have taken all they've learned and re-created it all over again. Famiilar hints of style, but soo effing foreign are the executions. Teeeeerrific.......odd guitar...Kil's spaceship effects....!!!!!!!!! 3:55!!!!!!!!!!!!!!3:55!!!!! FUNK!!! So goddamn sick!! Best bit of Incubus since Make Yourself! Period!! Goodness me. Kil on piano. Mikey brings out the odd effects....I'm where I should have been for Morning View 10 years ago. *tear* BRILLIANT. Deny that can't!

  12. 9. Switchblade.

    I'm smoking a cig after that. I know it was good for you too. Only effing Incubus. Only. They stopped trying to make inspired and unique music, and out of nowhere- the moment happened in our ear-pussies. Feel kinda used? Ya should. Forward....

    Hope they didn't blow their load. 3 tracks remain... Sorry for the references. No I'm not....

    OH........OK then. This is....unexpected. Hip-hop beat....sick bassline. Delicious. Semi-rap- cum- solid melody...effortlessly. Lyrics tongue-in-cheek. Fantastic sounds here. Unprecedented originality. Badass track. Fin-

  13. 10. Adolescents.

    The one we've heard. A good damn song IMHO. Reminded me immediately of M.Y. Now I begin to undertstand...the restraint and craftmanship of song here, on this CD is similar in some senses to the way they changed sound from SCIENCE. My theory. But you agree.---Great long tracks this time....volume up slightly...Ben's a beast. First verse sits warmly...lyrics are classic Boyd.

    Ben gets to shine here. Striking dead strings between sweet.

    ...Mikey is a master of his instrument. Tones of familiarity...Jose really laid solid, frill-free beats all thru this CD.

  14. 11. Tomorrow's Food.

    Uno mas... I typed "end", not "food" for some reason. I'm already satisfied. This last one could be another "Drive" or "Wish ya was Here" and I'd still praise the disc. Let's see what is to be seen...

    Difficulty finding solid lyrics for this one...hmmm...gonna go with letting this one go You do something!....weird though.

    Soft guitar is nice and all. Strong vocals. Clever words. Bouncing melody, abrupt transitions...unpredictable. Jesus, the crafting of this music is genius. Guitar, simple... blends well with tasty basic bass. Strings goood. End....

    * ****** *

    ------So, I'm sure you know if you're still aboard where I stand on this. Best Incubus since A Crow Left of the Murder, though this was obviously more painstakingly constructed...instead of written and recorded in 2 weeks. Overall, THE most valuable, inspired, finely, precisely pieced-together... born-of-master-class musicians in a comfortable state of unity and well-obvious understanding of a direction chosen, and traveled--since Make Yourself. Incubus has redeemed Light Grenades' watered down formulas and pop-radio pandering. Any attention this gets is well-deserved and the world would do well to witness these guys show them what artistry is and can be. Rock is alive and well here, though in undiscovered forms and between the beats and notes-- and talent that can only be described as: The Originals. I'm sure 2-4 hits will take. Maybe I'm over-estimating the public....ah well. Eff em in the A. This album is what great music should aspire to become, though that suggestion is against original expression---something found here in surplus.

    Thanks for probably not reading.

    Dane Ingham,

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  16. I heard the 2 singles and the a few new songs at the concert in Berlin.
    I have been a fan since Make Yourself.
    I am disappointed with this album. I knew not to expect anything that I have ever heard before and I always expect them to push boundaries but I did not expect 80's ish love songs. The lyrics are not even strong. Kudos to Mike, Jose, Ben and DJ KIlmore for blending the music together.
    Brandon should stop being influenced by his girlfriends and make his own music! The way you summed it up 'It's bohemian, hippie, and native' is an exact description of his girlfriend's image (and surprisingly the sound of The Wild Trapeze). 'Friends and Lovers' the name of her blog. Brandon just seems like a sell out. Tell me if I'm wrong but Ben has good vocals to do the replacement (a bit harsh, yes I know)

  17. @Dane: Hey Man! I actually just read your comments now and WOW! Great choice of words put together. You have clearly explained my thoughts I'm struggling to translate into words. Good job man. Agree on everything you said…

    @anon1: I completely agree, anon but you know we all need inspiration whether it may be ourselves, family, friends, or lover. And in this case, Brandon is highly influenced by his current girlfriend, yes. But the outcome is beautiful so why stop? I also agree with Ben having good vocals but no replacing should be done. Otherwise, Brandon will not be the only one selling out but...the whole band as well.

    (Sorry for replying after 10 years by the way…haha)