Record Label: Sony
Release Date: November 28, 2006
OK, so I usually don't do this, as I am fairly adamant about my goal to only listen to albums on or after their release date, but I got my hands on a pre-release copy of Incubus' new CD, Light Grenades, and I couldn't help myself to pop that sucker in and and give it a good listen. Now, I have been a fan of Incubus for a long time. After hearing about them through a good friend, I became nearly obsessed with Make Yourself, their third full-legnth release. From then on it was a growing appreciation for their entire library of works (with the exception of Fungus Amongus, as I was not a huge fan of that record, as funky as it may be), with my favorite Incubus album landing squarely on their latest release, A Crow Left Of The Murder. Most people didn't quite appreciate this effort as much as they probably should have, but it gave a glimpse into the direction that this prolific group of musicians were going in. That being said, Light Grenades is not A Crow Left of the Murder 2, but continues along the same evolutionary path that Incubus seems to take with every one of their diverse albums.
The album starts off with an intro I think, although it was not included on this pre-release, so just know that when you get the record, the first song will not be "A Kiss To Send Us Off". As my opening track though, "A Kiss To Send Us Off" is a great opener. It really showcases the direction the band is heading on this record. With wailing moans and strings through the beginning of the song, it picks up with the traditional incubus rock-out style into a very accessible chorus with Brandon Boyd's trademark picture-painting lyrics. The song as a whole basically will tell you, the listener, that you better get ready to rock. With a shouted chorus and a rousing guitar riff throughout, this song holds no prisoners and makes no apologies for its dichotomy of melody and hard rock. Solid opening track with a great feel and a good showcase of what is to come. The song "Dig", which can be heard on their myspace page, takes a slightly more mellow direction but still manages to be a sing along track with great lyricism. "Anna-Molly", the first single from Light Grenades, is a great track with not only awesome lyrics and and sing-along accessibility, but this is where the rest of the band starts to really shine. The bass part, played by ex-Roots guitarist, Ben Kenney, is surreal. Many people were very upset when Kenney replayed former Incubus bassist Dirk Lance, but the replacement, while it may be different, does not detract from the music and adds an exciting new dimension. Jose Pastillas on the drums shines through this song too, as well as Mike Eizinger's awesome guitar work. Eizinger is one of the best guitarists in modern rock and continues to shine throughout the album.
As the first real ballad on the record, "Love Hurts" seems to take it's cliched title and do something productive with it. Boyd seems to be breaking out of his normal vocal works on this track, playing with new melodies that are more reminiscent of radio-friendly rock than his previous efforts, while still maintaining that originality that he is so well known for. After that little slow diddy, Eizinger burts into a seizure of guitar work that hints of the crazy song to come. The title track "Light Grenades" really does explode right in your face. This rocking title is the fastest yet, and features the explosive vocals of songs like "Pistola" and "Zee Devil" on ACLOTM, while exploring a pace not seen by Incubus since their days playing Nu-Metal shows touring for S.C.I.E.N.C.E. Very different, but very very good. "Earth to Bella Pt. 1" begins with a folky verse with the sparse sounds of Boyd's voice and acoustic guitar and builds into rock and roll. The verses of this song slightly remind me of Incubus' more chill work, Morning View, while the chorus continues to build on the explorative sounds of ACLOTM. There is a ton of sounds going on in the choruses of this song, it's a little overdone and is a tad overwhelming compared to the mood of the rest of the song. Pretty good song, definitely not the best. "Oil And Water", while a good song, is not the best for this record and seems to be more a showcase of Boyd's lyrcism than a full band effort to write a solid song. It's not that the song is bad, but the rest of the album seems to be a little more put together. "Diamonds and Coal" really took me off guard. It has its own sound, and sounds like nothing that incubus has ever done. It sounds...traditional. This song is a perfect example of Incubus exploring. With "chugga-chugga" guitars and a driving bass part, the songs simplicity is what makes this song...really good. Eizinger stretches out toward the end of the song, but most of it is very straight-foward, and surprisingly, it works very well.
"Rouges" kicks things back into high gear, with Eizinger returning to his spastic guitar work and the band playing start stop verses with Boyd belting behind it. The bridge really showcases Eizinger as he uses his multitude of effects to create one of the most interesting guitar solos i have heard in a while. Its great to hear this band hasn't lost it's touch. The next track, "Paper Shoes", walks the album down the path that its heading in, still keeping with its experimental nature while remaining accessible to the majority of people. If you never thought you could dance to an Incubus song, get ready to put your foot in your mouth after hearing "Pendulous Threads", a surprisingly dancable song with an awesome melody and an even better guitar part. The albums closer "Earth to Bella pt 2" is literally a reprise of the first part of the songs with a bit more of an atmospheric touch and a noise filled ending.
Overall, I would say that this is Incubus' most solid effort. Its different than every single one their previous albums, while taking elements from each one and making something that is as diverse as it is cohesive. An excellent effort with only a few flaws scattered throughout. To Incubus: Keep going guys, you seem to know what's going on.
Incubus has meant the world to me for 6 years now. I've been a die hard fan in every aspect of the term. But I just cannot get into this record for the life of me. Granted I've only given it three full spins (i bought it last night). But the lyrical structures just aren't the same as they used to be.
This album is not as good as this reviewer has said. Love Hurts is one of the worst songs they've every produced, unless you're an 11 year old girl. "Love hurts, but sometimes it's a good hurt, and it makes me feel alive." Come on, that's horrible! There are a couple of good tracks, but, Love Hurts, Diamonds and Coal, Oil and Water, and Paper Shoes should be erased and the two Japanese bonus tracks should be tacked on. They're called Punch Drunk and Look Alive.
I hadn't listened to Incubus in awhile, so the release of "Light Greandes" snuck up on me. When I saw it in stores on Tuesday, I bought it in belief that Incubus could not put out a bad CD... and I was right. I really enjoy this CD as a whole album. I liked ACLOTM, but Morning View and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. are my favorite Incubus records. I think Light Grenades has a shot to compete with them.
i definitly have to agree w/ the review, its a very good incubus cd and i also think that LG eases the listener in more then ACLOTM took me a while to get used to but it def. grew on me....huge fan of such an amzing band, one of the few mainstream bands that always change it up a bit
I like where Incubus have gone with their musical style. The new song shows a nice maturity in the writing that still appeals to a large number of fans. THey seem to make subtle changes which helps to not alienate. I'm really digging this.
I Hyped Incubus on Everhype and gave it 88% which I think is fairly accurate.