If you’re only familiar with Incubus’s recent work, and haven’t yet heard this album, then you’re in for a total shock. This Incubus was a much different one. While they’ve recently moved to a more catchy and accessible (but still great) sound, they were once a much heavier and more experimental band. “SCIENCE” is probably the best and most creative thing they’ve ever done. The music has a very heavily funk-influenced style, similar to early Chili Peppers and Faith No More. However, their sound was still very distinctive and unique.
Frontman Brandon Boyd puts on what is easily his best performance to date. His quality melodic voice is still there, but his performance overall is more aggressive and eclectic. He effortlessly toggles between singing, rapping, and screaming, and always keeps it interesting. The musicians all put on fine performances, particularly Dirk Lance and Jose Pasillas, who stand out much more here than on later releases. Lance is a super-funky bassist, who can drive the song with power and groove, and Pasillas is an extremely dexterous and versatile drummer, who can combine many different styles with precision and finesse. Mike Einziger is an extremely creative and talented guitarist, excelling in both metal and funk styles. And, the mighty scratches of DJ Lyte give a bit of a hip hop flavor, which melds well with their brand of metallic funk.
The album is full of diversity, and fun twists and turns. “Redefine”, “New Skin”, and “A Certain Shade of Green” are hard-hitting funk-metal, with catchy melodic choruses to balance things out. “Vitamin” is kind of a straight-ahead hard rocker, with a wacky instrumental breakdown to shake things up. “Glass” features a jangly Primus-like bassline, mixed with a crushing guitar riff on the chorus. “Idiot Box” is sort of a slow funky groove, with some pretty wicked time changes. “Nebula” and “Calgone” are pure insanity, with some very jazzy drum work, and a lot of weird rhythms and time changes. “Deep Inside” moves back and forth between a funk/hip hop groove, and crushing metal, with a really cool bluesy guitar solo. “Magic Medicine” is sort of an instrumental, with some interesting drum beats superimposing some weird dialogue samples. The highlight of the album comes with “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)”, the ballad of the album. This song is basically straight-up oldschool soul/funk, complete with Temptations-like backup vocals on the chorus, and a nifty saxophone solo. Definitely one of the coolest songs they’ve done. Great feel to it, too. Really puts one in the mind of meeting up with a cool chick on a hot summer night.
The album also features a hidden track, roughly ten minutes in length. The track is mainly driven by Pasillas, and his wildly eclectic and always engaging drumwork. The song moves through several musical styles, from hip hop, to melodic rock, to funk, to jazz, and is interspersed with wacky sound samples, and a guitar riff and bassline here and there. One of the technicians apparently screwed up the ending of the last song (you get to hear one of the bandmembers, probably Brandon, scold him , so this hidden track was most likely thrown in to make up for it. Sometimes mistakes are blessings in disguise.
Anyway, this is an extremely well-made and fun album, one of the finest rock albums of the 90’s, no doubt. Even if you hate newer Incubus (which I don’t), you should definitely look into this, as this is quality music that anyone with an appreciation for the creative and unconventional can appreciate. Buy now.