I've always been a bit perplexed by Incubus. They never seem to know what kind of band they want to be. This could be a good or bad thing in so many ways. They've created so many different tracks that are of so many different genres you could argue they may be the ultimate wedding band. I mean that in a nice way. It is not often that a group of musicians can find success like Incubus when they seem to change their sound and style more often than some rock stars change their underwear. They also have an uncanny ability to take songs that are released in one style and perform them live in a completely different one and having both be classics. They've done "Pardon Me" as a rocker, a ballad and as an all acoustic number. All of which are killer in their own way. Incubus have no two albums that are alike and very well may be the ultimate chameleons of rock and roll.
With "If Not Now When?" we find that Incubus has lost it's aggression which always reared its hard edged sound on all their previous releases. It could be age, it could be another intentional change of direction or it could be something they no longer have in them. Hopefully it is a temporary thing because I've always gravitated to their more aggressive and heavier tracks.
Even if this album is a lot more mellow than you'd expect from Incubus, vocalist Brandon Boyd still shines with strong, passionate and soulful singing. Speaking of chameleons, Brandon has always had the ability to be a hard rock singer, pop singer, country singer, you name it. A great range and voice that always sounds good. It is especially good here on "In The Company Of Wolves" however this track is just too long at over seven minutes and becomes a tiresome listen. unfortunately, at least for me, after Brandon's stand out vocals there is not a lot to get excited about here. No memorable riffs, no catchy sing along lyrics and no anthems to be found here. "Defiance", an acoustic number is probably the tightest sounding track musically. Unfortunately with little uptempo or foot stomping songs around it "Defiance" is likely to be unnoticed. There are a lot of great moments in these tracks, like the guitar work in "Thieves" but on a whole this album falls flat and is a disappointment. Not to be discouraged thought because I'm sure Incubus will reinvent themselves once again on their next effort. I for one hope they revisit some of that aggression that is missing here.
INCUBUS IF NOT NOW, WHEN? COMPLETE TRACK LISTING:
|1.||"If Not Now, When?"|
|3.||"Friends and Lovers"|
|8.||"In the Company of Wolves"|
|12.||"Rebel Girls (iTunes And UK Pre-Order Bonus Track)" |
Released July 12, 2011 on Epic Records