Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Album review: If Not Now, When? - Incubus

(Alternate title: This band can do no wrong in my eyes)

I’d heard only so-so reviews of Incubus’s new album, If Not Now, When? back when it leaked a few months ago. “It’s just SO mellow,” my friend told me. A few trusted acquaintances expressed “slight disappointment.” Then I read several snotty reviews suggesting the album was "unremarkable." I have a thing against listening to leaked albums by any of my favorite bands, so I waited nervously for the album to drop. I’d listened to enough generic indie music in college for “mellow” to become almost synonymous with “boring,” so there was plenty of mental nail-biting going on in my brain. “Have they finally become old and feeble and lost their edge?” I wondered.

Then yesterday morning, I woke up and the sun was shining, birds were chirping, and a download link for If Not Now, When? was patiently waiting for me in my inbox (I preordered the album on vinyl, but the powers that be were kind enough to include a digital download in the package as well so I didn’t have to wait one single second longer.) Turns out most of my so-called “trusted” music sources must be either crazy or listening to the wrong record because this album is just glorious.

Yeah, it is mellow, but Incubus mellow is very different from stupid-hipster-putting-you-to-sleep mellow. Every song is memorable and carefully crafted from the lyrics to the instrumentation. One of my absolute favorite things about this band is how every album is consciously different from the last. Each has its own style and sound, and it has been a pleasure to watch the music evolve. At this point, the group has been around long enough to have created an album for just about every mood I can feel. This latest one is mature and sweeping; I’d have to agree with lead singer Brandon Boyd when he called it an "unabashed, romantic, lush, sonic love letter to the world."

Speaking of the fabulous Brandon, let’s talk about how flawless he is. Every new album, I swear his voice is perfect and yet somehow, with the next release, he sounds even better. This time around, he really gets to show off his superb vocals thanks to the more subtle instrumentation. Of course, that’s not to leave out the rest of the band. They are all so talented and lovely and have influenced my life in so many ways. Incubus was one of the first bands I ever got into, and they have remained in my top favorite groups of all time ever since.

Gods amongst men
So I have to say thank you to the haters out there, who got me worked up about nothing. The negative hype made me worry so much that now this album has now far surpassed my expectations. I should never have doubted my boys. It’ll never happen again, I promise.


  1. I enjoyed If Not Now When as well.  I've been watching their performances and interviews on Incubus HQ live, such a great band:

  2. Yeah, the Incubus livestream was awesome! I wish they would do it all the time.