Incubus fizzles with ‘Light Grenades’

Andrew Gaug

The late ’90s and early ’00s were good to bands with distortion and anger as nu-metal bands such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, System of A Down and Disturbed emerged with multiplatinum albums.

Along with the aforementioned bands was Incubus, which was armed with an equal mixture of funk and metal before hitting it big with slightly softer songs such as 2000’s “Drive” and 2002’s “Wish You Were Here.” As many of the nu-metal bands that once ruled the radio faded away with their inability to change their sound, the SoCal quintet slowly morphed from hard rock to a trippier, less-distorted brand of alternative music.

Taking inspiration more from The Police than Faith No More, Incubus’ sixth album Light Grenades continues to stray away from the path that originally brought them fame.

The title seems to suggest the general sound of the album – some really good, explosive songs offset by hollow, middle-of-the road tracks.

Opening with the spacey “Quicksand,” which segues into “A Kiss to Send Us Off,” a song that begins similarly to Incubus’s 2003 hit “Megalomaniac,” the album appears to build up to something big, only to take it down a few notches with the slow-yet-earnest love song, “Dig.”

The same goes for the album’s fastest and hardest-rocking title track that regains the momentum built up by “A Kiss” only to fall back again into another middle-of-the-road love song, “Love Hurts,” which, unlike “Dig,” plods along with cheesy lyrics such as the chorus’ “Love hurts/but sometimes it’s a good hurt/ and makes me feel like I’m alive.”

Much of the rest of the album has the same uneven qualities. The band shows some of its better work that helped make previous albums such as Morning View and Make Yourself memorable in the acoustic-tinged song “Paper Shoes” and the catchy, non-stop guitar riffs courtesy of guitarist Mike Einziger on “Pendulous Threads.”

Though those songs help save the last quarter of the album, it can’t help save it from its muddled middle section where the band attempts to stretch out its boundaries with the overreaching two-part song “Earth to Bella.” As opposed to one full song, “Bella” is broken into what ends up feeling like two incomplete songs with little variation outside of different lyrics and endings. Along with one of the band’s blandest songs to date, “Diamonds and Coal,” it all adds up to one of Incubus’ most inconsistent albums.

Though it deviates from the current crop of mainstream rock such as Nickelback, Hinder and Fall Out Boy, Incubus’ attempt at creativity cannot be substituted for a solid album.

Contact ALL editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].


Light Grenades

Released on: Epic Records

Stater rating (out of five): ?? «