Incubus have called their latest album 8 as it is their 8th studio album. As a tip of the hat to how inspirational and imaginative the album title is, I decided to write a list-article. Watch out guys, I could be getting poached by Buzzfeed…if I didn’t hate GIFs so much.
1. It doesn’t sound like Fungus Amongus/S.C.I.E.N.C.E./Make Yourself/Morning View
Good! I wish some people would get over this with bands in general. Yes, it’s not like their old stuff. Why would a band that has been going for 20+ years want to sound the same with every album? Especially a band like Incubus who have spent their career bending genres and exploring musical styles.
2. But it least it rocks
Yes. Yes it does. Mike Einziger’s guitar is definitely back in the forefront of this record and in comparison this sounds more like an Incubus record than If Not Now When, which was more on the mellow side and made me think it should have been a Brandon Boyd solo album rather than an Incubus album. We even get a big Zeppelin-esque riff on “Love in a Time of Surveillance” which is as welcome as it is out of place.
3. And thank God it’s not an EDM record!
Ok, this might be a bit of a cheap shot, but they are due a mid-career crisis curveball a la Weezer’s Red Album/Raditude/Hurley (pick one, they’re all just plain wrong). Also they are best buds with Skrillex (he co-produced some tracks on the album too) and Mike Einizger has penned a tune or two with Avicii, so you could understand why some might have been a bit nervous. Luckily those fears were unfounded.
4. What Happened to Trust Fall Side B?
So we have Trust Fall Side A which was an EP and Incubus suggested this is how they would distribute music in the future: in bite size chunks. I didn’t care much for the EP, it didn’t really capture my imagination, but are we getting a side B? I’m much happier will a full length release, so thanks for that guys, but was the EP idea canned? Will it come later on? Who knows?
5. Why doesn’t DJ Kilmore scratch more?
See point 1 and it’s 2017. Scratching should be left to hip hop instead of it being shoe-horned into rock songs. Also he does an excellent job on keys and filling in sonic space. He’s not the most obvious member of the band, but an important part of the Incubus family.
6. Brandon Boyd used to write better lyrics
I’m going to have to agree and disagree on this one. I think from 2004’s A Crow Left of the Murder Boyd has taken a different approach to writing lyrics. He mentioned at the time he didn’t pour over lyrics and had a shorter time limit so just let the words come. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s still true and I think is even more obvious when their record label releases those lyric videos on YouTube. His lyrics are often witty and his use of metaphors and similes have a certain level of flair, but that flair is somewhat absent.
Incubus are at the stage of their career where they don’t have much to prove anymore. They have a large fanbase, they have an impressive back catalogue and they don’t have many new things to say. Oh, and they have money and pretty comfortable lives (the curse of the artist apparently). There’s only so many ways you can write about heartbreak, betrayal and how messed-up the world is without that message getting diluted. Not Boyd’s best lyrics as a collection, but nothing bad by any means.
7. What’s a Nimble Bastard?!
Carrying on from the last point, the lead song from 8, at first, seemed like one of those ideas that didn’t land. But after a few listens it has grown on me. I could see myself calling someone a nimble bastard in the right circumstance. C’mon, it’s not the most ridiculous/out there song title they’ve come up with. I’m looking at you “You Will Be a Hot Dancer”!
8. I’m happy to see Incubus back
It’s been six years since the last full length release and just seeing Incubus back with a new album can help fans forgive some of the flaws that 8 brings with it. It’s not a classic Incubus album and it’s not going to have a big impact, but there is plenty to like. It’s good to see a band as talented and successful as Incubus still wanting to release new material. There’s a special place in my and many other’s hearts for Incubus and that’s who I think this album is for. However, If you weren’t a fan before, you won’t be changing your mind after listening to 8.