If Not Now, When? Incubus’ New Album Put Under the Microscope

12 Jul

The album cover is a picture of high wire artist Philippe Petit, the subject of the documentary Man on Wire, that focuses on his death defying wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974

Incubus’ new album, If Not Now, When? hit the shelves today and it does not disappoint at all.  Though the album lacks the harder rock feel evident in Make Yourself and Morning View, every song contains brilliant harmonies and an easy relaxing tone.

It’s no secret that Incubus has been moving towards more experimental sounds with less punch and aggression, and this was made clear by the album before this one, Light Grenades. If Not Now, When? is the evolved state of that transformation.

With that all said, this album has Incubus’ pure sound that is undeniably their own. As with every album produced thus far, Brandon Boyd’s voice gives a unique sound that dots the i and crosses the t in the sound produced. Every song on this album could arguably be plugged into any of the other Incubus albums and it wouldn’t feel too ridiculously out of place.

Most of the songs are about love and relationships, making for lyrics that could sweep a girl off her feet.

“Friends and Lovers” and “In Company of Wolves” fit into the parameters of experimental tunes while others fit into slower rock expected from Incubus such as “Isadore” and “The Original.”

A trend I noticed in the album is that in the “experimental” songs, Incubus seems to harmonize and create melodies with an organ/synth in the background, which is a slight abnormality.

“Isadore” and “Adolescents” are my two favorite songs off of the album. In “Adolescents,” the band really rocks and this gives Jose Pasillas a chance to show what he can do on the drums. Pasillas doesn’t have formal training on the drums, but can blow most drummers out of the water. He doesn’t get to showcase himself as much as he could in songs such as “Pardon Me” and “Stellar,” but he adds so much to the album with his skillful fills that never sound out of place.

The album is only 11 songs long, however it does leave the listener satisfied. All but two songs are longer than four minutes (leaving a few songs dragging on just a bit too long,) while “In Company of Wolves,“ (the most experimental song of the album especially after the 3:30 mark) is well over seven minutes long.

The one song that feels out of place in context of the album is “Switchblade.” While it is a good song that would fit in other Incubus albums, it seems out of place as it goes faster and Boyd is on the verge of rapping during some of the verses.

I miss Incubus’ use of turntables in the album. The turntables allowed for an interesting twist that normally isn’t found in rock songs. They never over-used the tables; listen to the pre-chorus of “Drive” and it belongs perfectly.

I would highly recommend this album. It’s relaxing and has a mix of both enjoyable rock and songs jam-packed with constantly changing harmonized melodies. The album leaves you wanting more and, because of this, the tour should run smoothly.

For those who just like downloading individual songs off of iTunes I would recommend “If Not Now, When?,” “Promises, Promises,” “Thieves,” “Isadore,” “Defiance,” and “Adolescents.”

If you have any views, comments, or questions, please comment on this article or tweet me at @MusicCourt or @AndrewLeibo and I’ll be happy to discuss or debate with you.

Here is “Isadore”:

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