Incubus - If Not Now, When?
Record Label: Epic/Immortal
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Incubus has come a long way since S.C.I.E.N.C.E. in 1997. A band that used to rock hard has now transitioned to one that would rather chill on a couch and roll out some tunes. Actually, in one of their concerts, they brought out a couple couches and all sat down with their acoustic guitars and played one of the best versions of "Pardon Me" I've ever heard. Looking back to that moment, I am not surprised by their progression to more relaxed music.
One thing I've come to expect from Incubus is that no two albums will ever sound the same. They have even commented as much, saying, “We hate making the same record twice." This mentality is probably one of their greatest strengths, but also one of their greatest weaknesses -- at least when it comes to satisfying fans. It is clear that with every new album, Incubus has somewhat alienated those fans that want another S.C.I.E.N.C.E.: another hard, kick-ass rock album. Sadly for them, this will never happen. If Not Now, When? is a tremendous shift from their original sound. Others think that Incubus can't seem to find their identity musically, or that they're so self-loathing, after a few years, they already hate the album they put out. I wholeheartedly disagree with this.
Progression of sound is a sign of growth and artistry. Why keep making the same thing when you have the potential to try all sorts of other sounds? Rather, one can look at each album as an experiment by the band to see what their repertoire of song writing holds. I read a review of Incubus’ latest album that said, "Whatever made Incubus uniquely Incubus is nowhere to be found here." My question to that reviewer is if almost every album is different, then what is uniquely Incubus? My answer is simple. Incubus is the band that sounds like no other at the time of their release. I challenge you to go back to every album and find another album that sounds at all like it within two years of its release. You won't find it.
On to my thoughts of the new album. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to If Not Now, When? Everything about this album is relaxed, especially Brandon Boyd’s singing. They also took a minimalist approach to the music, with barely any instrument standing out above the others. A pleasant surprise was DJ Kilmore shining on the keyboard.
The listener is immediately thrown head first into Incubus' new direction during the title track, with the only familiar sound being Boyd’s voice as he bellows "It's time..." over this poppy ballad. The only song on this album that has any connections to their past style is "Adolescents," which comes late in the track list. During most of the songs, I found myself conjuring up all sorts of "sunny" imagery. For some reason, I felt a real sense of optimism while listening to this album. Really, this album invokes a feeling of honesty coming from the music, almost as if this is the sound the band really wanted to have.
The bottom line? This album is really, really good. It's not the Incubus of old. It's not the Incubus of two years ago. It is the Incubus of now. The question, however, is (to quote Spaceballs backwards) when will now be then...
I listened to the album on my friends iPod the other night, though I was pretty drunk and didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to the album. Once the album comes out, I am gonna give it an honest listen. Nice review.
incubus is the band i listen to when i need to give some thought to my life, whenever i need to love/hate myself a little, and when i feel like enjoying the sunset with an empty mind. being my official feel-good band, they have a special place in my heart, and that alone is enough to get me pumped for every new release.
this record is not an excepton, i couldn't be more excited for this. i still didn't listen to any song on it, i want to experience it as a whole from the very first spin.
I'm immensely proud of these guys. I've yet to hear the record as I decided to wait until the release, but I love that they manage to consistently write songs that strike a chord with both fans and radio, only to abandon that style which could continue to rake in the $$$ and practically start from scratch the next time around.
That takes balls...and talent. A loyal fan since '97 and I ain't going anywhere.
I'm undecided about this album. I've listened to it 3 times so far in my car and... I just don't know about it. As the bloke above mentions, I've also been a fan for a good few years since Make Yourself came out. I treasure Incubus, they've played a big part in my life and that will never change.
The first impressions of INNW is that it's underwhelming to me. It takes a while to take off... up until Isadore, it feels like it's just a plane taxiing around the runway, while every now and then attempting to take off but not being able to because there's hardly any speed.
Now, I really love it when Incubus do 'relaxed' and I'll be quick to clarify that my aeroplane comparison is nothing to do with the style Incubus has opted for this time. It's just that Brandon Boyd is a completely seperate entity to the rest of the band. His vocals are the most stunning I've ever heard, but the remainder of the band make very little effort to assist him. For the first time in all of Incubus's releases, the music does absolutely nothing for me. 'Friends and Lovers' is a prime example of this - I'm sorry Incubus, but that is a very bad song.
It begins to pick up during 'Thieves' and 'Isadore' is one of the albums highlights. Not really listened to the remainder of the songs so I can't assess them. They all seem to be the same tempo though.
I hope I'm wrong later down the line, but INNW is turning into a bit of a wet flannel.
I'm a huge fan of Incubus but after the first few listens I'm not very into it. I'll definitely give it more spins because for being a long-time Incubus and never being disappointed, I want to get into it.
I personally love this album. I think for a band that has been around since the 90's, for them to take a break and create an album like this is phenomenal. The only track I was not really able to get into is "Promises, Promises". I think that this album though all together has a more matured Incubus sound and has such simplicity. I definitely recommend it.