Incubus – “If Not Now, When?” (2011, Epic Records)
Reviewer: Corey Thibodeaux
A tour bus is no place to find inspiration for a new album. Amidst all of Incubus’ success as a band, the momentum of sustaining the hype was taking its toll on the music writing process.
After touring in 2006 to promote Light Grenades, Incubus took a much needed break. Some band members needed to explore new musical dimensions, like lead singer Brandon Boyd releasing his solo album, The Wild Trapeze. Some needed to go to school. Some needed to have kids and spend time with family. It was Incubus’ longest layoff between albums so they could experience life.
From the first track of If Not Now, When?, it’s obvious the band is in a different place, laid out in it’s loving lyrics and gentle sound. The album opens up with the title track showing off their new, simplistic atmospheric approach. It is by far the softest album the band has ever released but it tends to reach new depths musically, culminating in the seven and a half minute wonderment of “In the Company of Wolves”.
If Not Now, When? has more warmth than even the lighter tracks on2001’s Morning View, the closest comparison you can make between albums. In other words, it makes for a great summer evening soundtrack. “Switchblade” is the only song that could be considered “aggressive,” probably to show that they can still go that direction.
Incubus is one of the few bands where you can say that each album sounds completely different than all the others, which makes comparing them awfully difficult. But does it really matter? You’ve got to appreciate a band of this caliber taking time off to experience what we all take for granted and then do what they do best: making another solid album.