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A Crow Left of the Murder

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★★★★☆
(550 Reviews)

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  • The so-called fans rant. The nu-metal crowd begins a revolt. I pick up the new disc and let it play and feel like the only one in a thousand who just loves watchin it go around and enjoys the music as music. Incubus dumped the aggro-rock, and if that was their best attribute, we should all be upset. Fortunately, it is obvious by their latest release “A Crow Left of the Murder” that the band, even with the sudden line-up change after so many successful albums, has become a modern rock band that writes music to write music and to express themselves. I don’t say this like this is my first incubus album. I own most of them, the valiantly creative SCIENCE, the triumph of nu-metal Make Yourself and the morph to friendly radio Morning View. The band never ceases to go new places, the replacement of funky rhythmic beats instead of crashing guitars finds old band doing new songs. They seem to have flawlessly changed again, the mid-tempo grooves of the beginning of the cd are some of the best Incubus moments since “Stellar” and “A Certain Shade of Green”. This album is even lighter on the ears than anything the band has done before, but Brandon seems at his best crooning to succinct guitar melodies and funk-style backbeats.The journey through and out of nu-metal is a voyage that most bands couldn’t make out alive. However, tracks like the beautiful “Southern Girl”, the soulfulesque “Agoraphobia” are reminders that songs like “Echo” off the last record were not merely flukes of acoustic genius. If it isn’t the band you have come to know and love, maybe you should come to know and love this one. I wouldn’t suggest that this cd will flood the airwaves with sappy garbage, Incubus still retains the flavor that makes them a rock band. “Beware Criminal!” finds a catchy chorus that makes you relive the glory days of songs from the old records. Overall the guitars have dropped down another notch and every other element has taken over to make up for it. The vocals are superb, Brandon shows range, versitility as well as the encompassing knowledge of where he can take the band vocally. Although mellowing out was a slow and almost painless process, the band is still reaching out in new directions. The 6 minute long “Sick sad little world” is quirky and driven by the chorus which features no roaring guitars but is driven by drum work. The track is interesting and breaks down in the middle to an instrumental interlude. The band is pushing what they can do while avoiding the nu-metal crowd. I appreciate that in the band, this effort is a well done song and fits in with the more laid back titles. The feel-good “Pistola” is a great piece to throw in the middle of the work. It roars along fast and keeps the tempo from dropping to the horrible word that music this soft often goes towards: boring. However, Incubus is almost reinventing the wheel with this album. The wheel is the fragments of nu-metal that have been further shattered by such an outright attempt at creativity by a band that has always proven to be good at doing what it does. Incubus even takes a moment to throw in a track that could have been on the last record, “Made for TV Movie”. The smooth chorus and guitar riff flow like normal Incubus. They haven’t shifted too much from their efforts of the past in all aspects. The lead single “Megalomaniac” made it sound like there would be more to like that sounded similar to Morning View. It’s a great track but merely a great opener for the real album. Give the album a chance to be the album it is. If we were all to dwell in the past efforts we aren’t even choosing to see the highlights of this album. If all you want is the same Incubus from their other albums why don’t you go buy yourself another copy of Morning View or SCIENCE and pretend that it’s their new disc. A band with this much promise doesn’t stop evolving so fans who can’t cope with the new music can keep listening to their favorite band from years ago. This album is different. This album is thought provoking. Who knows, this may be the album of the “sell-out” but this is Incubus. If you don’t like it go live in a little box and listen to SCIENCE and dream about the “good ol’ days”. I own the last four Incubus albums and enjoy them all, this one is definitly no exception. If you truly like Incubus, run out and get this album. If you like good music, run out and get this album. If you choose to think that Incubus is ripping off STP and Brandon whines then sell this album to someone who will appreciate it. Guess we know who the real fans are now.

    Posted on March 7, 2010