Blue Robot

Album Review: Incubus - If Not Now, When?

Posted by Brian McFarland on 08/19 at 12:31 PM

Grade: C

Incubus released their sixth full-length studio album If Not Now, When? on July 8. Being a long time fan of the California band, I felt I had to review it. Honestly, it was a bit of a disappointment. I could tell that lead singer Brandon Boyd and the other members are in a much better and happier place than previous albums. However, the majority of the album lacked the intensity and power that they had in the past.

Boyd’s vocals and lyrics are stellar again, but the rest of the band is left as an after thought. The opening song ‘If Not Now, When?’ immediately gets your blood flowing with anticipation. However, it left me wondering when guitarist Mike Einziger, drummer Jose Pasillas, bassist Ben Kenny, and DJ Chris Kilmore were going to get a chance to branch out and take control.

‘Promises, Promises’ is a prime example of their happier, upbeat style on this album. It’s a very pop, soft rock sound that is pretty catchy. ‘Friends And Lovers’ tries to highlight Boyd’s vocals, but leaves the rest of the band twirling their thumbs. ‘Thieves,’ like ‘If Not Now, When?,’ has hints of the old Incubus. Boyd takes his first backseat of the album two minutes 50 seconds into the track when Einziger gets to show off a bit.

‘Isadore’ continues the romantic feel of the album. The lyrics and instrumentals get a bit repetitive, flopping back and forth between the steady beat of the melody to the chorus. Except for one short guitar riff, ‘The Original’ is another spotlight on Boyd instead of the band as a whole. ‘Defiance’ is a two minute acoustic teaser that ends way too soon and leads into the seven minute marathon of ‘In the Company of Wolves.’ A lot of people have been praising this song, with much due respect. However, the breakdown half-way through the song is drawn out and weak, in my opinion. And it never picks back up with the only highlight being the piano that gets snuffed out by the continual, “it was, it was.” I enjoyed the first half of the track but the rest didn’t work for me.

‘Switchblade’ is one of the more upbeat songs on the album. The drums kick in with the cymbals. Then the bass walks in and finally the guitar riff finishes it off. But then, like ‘Isadore,’ it goes nowhere and becomes stagnant, relying on Boyd again. ‘Adolescents,’ the first single off the album, is like the lyrics: “out of sight, out of mind.” There was nothing impressive about the song, but nothing to really complain about either. The final song of the album, ‘Tomorrow’s Food,’ reminds me of being put on hold by some business like Comcast. It’s a very soft and almost empty song, and I found it weird that they chose to end the album with it.

Overall, the album was OK. Not great, like I expected, just OK. I wish that the other band members had a chance to take the lead on a lot more songs. If this is the direction Incubus has decided to take then I totally support them. This album just didn’t meet my expectations. Check the album out. It’s only $9.99 on iTunes and Amazon.com:

{name} Author: Brian McFarland
Bio: Brian McFarland is a senior print journalist major with a minor in English. He has a passion for all forms of original, creative music. In his spare time he likes to attend shows, play sports, read, and write. He loves the indie scene but still loves music of all genres and sounds. Favorite bands include Brand New, Emery, Thursday, and Blink 182.

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