Review Summary: This is an upbeat record, not overly happy, probably best suited for a drive down an ocean coastline in your dad's overpriced convertible, while getting a BJ. Although, the BJ is not necessarily required.
Let me start off by saying that I am by no means the biggest Incubus fan, but I've generally liked their stuff in the past, so I decided Brandon Boyd's solo effort was at the very least worth a listen. It's no mystery that most music enthusiasts cringe a little inside when they hear that a lead singer is deciding to branch out on his own. Needless to say, the industry is littered with solo efforts gone terribly bad. I am happy to report that The Wild Trapeze
is not one of those times.
The Wild Trapeze
starts off strong with its title track. This song kicks in with a hefty bass line coupled with your standard acoustic strumming and then transitions into a smooth groove where Boyd's voice is allowed to shine. In actuality it sounds like a barebones version of Incubus and the same could probably be said about the rest of the record, but that's pretty much what we expected here right" This is far from a bad thing.
I guarantee you that at the end of that first track you'll swear the ice cream truck is right outside your door, pretty cool though.
So anyway, the next few tracks are pretty much the same sound (guitar strumming/plucking coupled with subtle drum line), give or take a few nuances, but they are solid and catchy enough to keep you moving along at an enjoyable pace. Revenge of the Spectral Tiger
is another smooth and airy song from Boyd. I mention this song here because this is where his lyrics, for me, begin to get a bit more interesting and comprehensible. The album then transitions into Courage and Control
, which is a sorrowful ballad of sorts. This is the only song where we find Boyd's vocals take full control of a song and it's quit the welcome change at this point in the record. The rest of the album pretty much reverts back to the same sound found in the first five songs, save for the last song which we hear Boyd stepping out a bit. It's probably no coincidence that he chose the last song to do anything different. It's not a bad decision, nor a bad song. Overall the album boasts good song placement, which guides the listener on a smooth, enjoyable ride.
I can't say this album is great because it's not, but if I could rate it as really good, I certainly would. Boyd's vocals and lyrics are strong enough to carry the album, despite the music itself feeling rather average. However, with Boyd being the lead singer in a band and not the lead guitarist that tends to make perfect sense. The Wild Trapeze
was never painful to listen to. It's simply a really good record.
The Wild Trapeeze
A Night Without Cars
Courage and Control