The moment that Incubus first came onto my radar was when I happened to channel surf into their video for the song “Pardon Me,” as it was playing on MTV. For whatever reason, that song just pulled me in and I found myself scouring the local music stores for anything and everything that Incubus had released.
It was a momentary fascination that I’ve never regretted.
Since that idle moment of flipping through channels on my television, a few years have passed. Thankfully, instead of doing the typical “let’s wait 3-4 years between albums” that many bands seem to favor, incubus have been consistently putting out good music.
Since Make Yourself, the album that “Pardon Me” came from, they’ve put out Morning View, A Crow Left of Murder, and their new album, Light Grenades. That’s a respectable bunch of albums right there, I’ll have you know.
Instead of simply keeping to the formula that got them into the mainstream notice, Incubus have had the fortune of being comprised of guys that are stubbornly being true to themselves. They don’t want to put out cookie-cutter albums that all sound alike.
They’ve grown and matured on each record, you see. How many current bands are even given the chance to mature and make their way through what looks to be a long career of making music, these days? How many bands even have the talent to mature like that?
Not many mainstream ones, that’s for sure.
Light Grenades, which is spinning in my stereo as I type this, took me a few listens to get into. I like that. Music should occasionally frustrate and challenge ME to keep up with IT, instead of the other way around. In a way, it is as if Incubus is challenging me to mature along with their music.
At 35, I find that I am finally welcoming such challenges. I’m seeing how narrow I’ve focused my music devotions in my life, and I’m looking for ways to experience music in new ways.
Granted, I’m saying all of this in a review of the new Incubus album, so I realize that I’m not exactly talking about a band that is reinventing the wheel. No, Incubus is what it is — a talented bunch of guys that make intelligent and passionate music with a definite nod to mainstream sensibilities.
Okay, hang on. That last sentence gave me a headache.
I think what I was trying to say was that Incubus, while being adventurous and talented as all get-out, are still a mainstream band. So, it isn’t as if I’ve dug deep on my search for new music, when I stop and sing their praises. I know that. But, I also know that stranger things have happened than have a mainstream band be relevant and make good music.
And good music is what Light Grenades is chocked full of.
From the swirling dreamy intro of “Quicksand” as it flows seamlessly into the melodious staccato kick of “A Kiss To Send Us Off,” this is a beautiful album. All in all I don’t know that there is a single song on this record that I don’t like.
I couldn’t say that for their last album, by the way.
Brandon Boyd’s voice is in amazing form, the band seems to giddily leap and follow the rhythmic challenges that his lyrics make — I’m not sure what else I could tell you that would convince you to give this album a chance.
Buy it, try it, and enjoy it. I did, and am.