Sound — 10
Overall, the sound of this album is a mix between "Make Yourself" and "Fungus Amongus" with a bit of "S.C.I.E.N.C.E." It's very easy to tell they are becoming a cleaner, crisper band. Ben Kenney adds some very good background vocals not heard on previous albums. And Mike's guitar work is phenomenal, especially on "Sick, Sad, Little, World." Very well done. "Megalomaniac" seems a little out of place on this album. The real album begins at the title track. There is, of course, the specific "Incubus" sound that they put in a few of the songs in this album. It's the type of thing we heard in "Stellar" and "Nice To Know You" from previous albums. It's hard to explain, but very apparent in "Pistola," one of the best tracks and easily a single from the album. Some highlights include, "A Crow Left Of The Murder," "Pistola," "Sick, Sad, Little World," Beware Criminal," "Zee Deveel," and "Here In My Room." These are easily the stand-outs of the album.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, the album is very solid. It does not have the depth of "Morning View," but still very good. Brandon, unfortunately, seems to be on this stream-of-consceousness thing with lyrics and every now and then the songs don't make sense. Ex: "Still in transfix the electric sheep are dreaming up our fate." (Talk Show On Mute) He also bogs with convoluded metaphors like "Pink tractorbeam into your incision," (Here In My Room). But on other songs, he does a very good job. His best lyrics are probably in "A Crow Left Of The Murder," "Leech," and of course "Beware, Criminal." Those songs reach ranges from being uplifting to downright scathing, and they are the most memorable and straightforward lyrics of the album.
Overall Impression — 8
This record is slowly going in a direction that will eventually lead Incubus to be a band to be reckoned with. They are slowly developing a sound that is not only a welcomed change from the crap we hear on the radio, but may someday even be the template for rock bands in the years to come. (let's just not hope for cheap Incubus knock-off bands.) Musically, this is one of their most developed and daring albums; bringing back their original sounds from earlier albums and developing newer ones. The new bassist does a wonderful job taking over songs and background vocals to allow Mike some time to experiment with his guitar work, which really shines out. He's becoming a fantastic guitar player. Brandon's vocals have never been better. And there's nothing wrong we can say about Jose's percussion skills. I even like how Kilmore blends in as a dj rather than stand out. This was their "little experiment" and it semed to work out just fine. At this rate their next album should be down right incredible.