Review Summary: I'm sick of painting in black and white
How much variation can a single band employ throughout their discography? Incubus are one of the best groups to answer that question - their most recent material has little in common with the raw, caffeinated days of their youth. S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
is the cornerstone of a group that has no idea what the hell they want to do - the kick-start to a career that's traversed more musical genres than anybody could have ever anticipated.
Sure, we all had a feeling that Incubus was capable of bending genres like magician to spoon; S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
itself hints towards this, although the experimentation fleshes out most extensively between the biggest movements on the album. "Summer Romance" (the only track that, puzzlingly enough, wouldn't be out of place buried within a Starbucks playlist,) meekly positions itself between the headstrong "Favorite Things" and the weird-ass "Nebula," as if it didn't necessarily want to be discovered from the get-go. It makes sense that Incubus were going to head in this direction, though, because S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
, despite its incredibly bizarre funk-metal stylings, was actually a step towards the mainstream. It's strange to think about this, because the album's so freaking quirky.
However, Fungus Amongus
was even weirder and we all knew it. ("You Will Be A Hot Dancer?" Really?) The silliness came across as a little feigned in those times, but S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
is a more mature display of its predecessor's endless genre-meshing.
The album stands out like a sore thumb within Incubus' most widely acclaimed albums, though, and it's because even though S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
was a logical progression in context of the band's musical ventures, it's a strange creature on its own. It's that chill kid in your Biology class, kinda smelly but vibey at the same time - the kid you end up becoming best friends with, despite his lack of hygienic discipline. See, he knows that sometimes it's more rewarding to embrace the filth, to be rough around the edges for the sake of something more important. S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
only cares about elements and drugs, about love and chemicals and dust, not about how cautiously these themes should be presented, and this is why Incubus' debut album also happens to be their most unforgettable.