Review Summary: While it has only been 3 years since Incubus has released an album, it seems as if it's been longer. The title track is fitting, Light Grenades blows up like a grenade that only half-works, leaving you only half-injured and wanting to be finished.
Although for me it seems like forever, it has not been long since we last heard from Incubus. Aside from A Crow Left of the Murder, released in 2004, they have also released songs for the Stealth Soundtrack, along with The Odyssey for the Halo soundtrack. With The Odyssey being one of my favorite songs ever written, I had very high expectations for this album. I must admit that I was slightly disappointed.
What I liked about the album:
This album is definitely a step in a new direction for Incubus. In fact, I would be overjoyed if Incubus continued in this direction. The introduction of keys become apparent on songs such as Quicksand
and definitely add a nice touch. DJ Kilmore does more then just sound effects and scratches, we hear some real piano, which really makes the song Paper Shoes.
Some of the songwriting is excellent as well. Songs like Anna Molly
and Paper Shoes
showcase Incubus’ talent in writing both hard-rocking and soft, ballad-style songs. Light Grenades
takes us back to the Science
days, up-tempo and spontaneous. Brandon’s vocals are very good in this song, along with the lyrics. On the first listen, Oil and Water
struck me as a boring song, but with more and more listens, the song grew on me. The first half is soft and mellow, and just the right amount of repetitive. The vocals are nice, and the melody is also very catchy. The second half really builds well, and the backing vocals on “wouldn’t be the first time” are a very nice addition to the song.
The guitar work on the album was very nice. Guitar solos in Dig, Love Hurts, Light Grenades, Paper Shoes,
and my favorite Incubus guitar solo ever, Pendulous Threads
really showcase Mikey’s talent as a guitar player. The drum work is also very well done, with Jose’s highlight being the title track.
What I did not like about the album:
Although this album is a “step” in the right direction for Incubus, most of the time it seems only like a “half-step.” With 3 songs clocking in under 2:30, it almost seems as if Incubus got lazy in their writing. Light Grenades
is almost too short to enjoy, as is Quicksand. Earth to Bella parts 1 and 2
are definitely the weak points of the album. Both songs are very similar, and most of Part 1 is just a boring guitar-effects solo. However, it does end nicely (and for part 2, start nicely) with a finger-picked acoustic guitar outro/intro.
A Kiss to Send Us Off
is also another low-point of the album. The song has it going up until the chorus, where Brandon chants “A Kiss to Send Us Off!” It sounds extremely out of place, and it’s almost like it was thrown in there to fill time. The song could have been a highlight of the album if it were not for this chant.
Songs like Rogues
and Diamonds and Coal
have very little to offer. Aside from a good intro, Rogues
is quite boring. Diamonds and Coal
is very boring, it seems to stay in one place and never change pace. The overall mood of the song is pleasant, but it just doesn’t go anywhere. Once again, with more work Incubus could have made these songs into something special, but they didn’t.
My final rant will be about Brandon’s lyrics. While I do not rate a song on it’s lyrics, I’m just going to warn most of you that the lyrics on most tracks are very weak. It almost seems as if every song is a love song, and there are little differences on subject from track to track. One of the best songs musically is Dig,
but the lyrics just aren’t to Brandon’s full ability. He could have done much better, but like I said, I don’t really care about lyrics, as long as the vocals are done well.
I am slightly disappointed with Incubus. After hearing A Crow Left of the Murder
and The Odyssey
, I was expecting something extremely good. I was left begging for new Incubus material, but now that I have it, I would rather have waited longer and gotten something as good as A Crow Left of the Murder.
Tracks I liked:
Oil and Water