If Not Now, When? review by Incubus

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  • Released: Jul 12, 2011
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 5 (153 votes)
Incubus: If Not Now, When?
2

Sound — 7
Incubus' first album since 2006's "Light Grenades" (although one could argue that 2009's "Monuments And Melodies" had enough unreleased material to be considered a standard album on its own), it is essentially free of any of the "heavier" tracks every previous Incubus album has come to offer. Guitarist Mike Einziger had this to say: "Over the years, we've become less and less aggressive as far as our music goes. There's always moments of that aggression, but this album is pretty free of that". He hit the nail on the head - this is the Incubus you would blare outside of the girl (or guy?) you love's house at 2 a.m. Through a black boombox. I mean this in both good and bad ways; as far as albums go, this is the most emotionally consistent. However, as an album, it falls short fairly fast, and by track 5 I was pretty bored with it. Of course, Incubus can do no wrong by my standards, and the album is by no means listenable. However, it wasn't until the second part of "In The Company Of Wolves" that I became truly interested in the album again: the album changes pace quickly during the transition on this song to a very dark, almost bluesy feel. "Switchblade", the next track on the album, is an upbeat, fast-paced catchy song that immediately becomes one of the highlights of the album, with its almost Prince-like qualities. The penultimate and first single off the album, "Adolescents" returns to the original sound of the first tracks, but the interesting guitar work that Mike Einziger creates causes this track to stand out more than the others. The final track, "Tomorrow's Food", ends the album in the same way it started - good, but nothing I consider special, and definitely not up to par with the previous Incubus albums.

Lyrics — 6
Lyrically, the album falls short in many ways. Brandon Boyd has always been a personal favorite lyricist of mine, but his witty, philosophic lyrics have been replaced by sappy, slightly cliched love analogies. What's worse is, at times they feel like they don't fit in quite right with the melodies, especially in "Friends And Lovers", where he sings "Because in the end, we are friends and lovers"; it feels forced, and it shows. "Defiance" is one of the better tracks lyrically: "And there's an absence today of defiance / a most awaken inclination / and your elegant aberration" (This all-acoustic track also feels the most like older Incubus, notably 2001's "Morning View"). "In The Company Of Wolves" also stands out as a strong example that Boyd isn't done writing great lyrics; "Infinity it falls, in feathery folds but she bites like loveless eyes / but with her belly full she called this rite of passage / it was the longest night of my life", although a huge part of it is how the line is delivered. None of the lyrics in any of the songs are "bad", far from it in fact, but the listener won't quite feel as challenged by the writing as they would come to expect from Incubus.

Overall Impression — 7
As a fan of Incubus since 1997's "S.C.I.E.N.C.E.", I have watched Incubus grow, trying out multiple genres of music. They have a sound all their own, yet always seem to be experimenting and trying new things. "If Not Now, When?" is no exception, and although the album drags on at times, there are still memorable tracks, the big standouts being "In The Company Of Wolves", "Switchblade", and "Defiance". Unfortunately, there are no real heavy jams that have shown up in all albums prior to this one, and the lyrics feel sub-par compared to his other works (perhaps because they focus on one emotion, "love", more than any other, causing it to appear redundant by the 5th or 6th track). "In The Company Of Wolves" and "Switchblade" change up the tone in the final stretch of the album, but I can't help feel that the album is just a bit too monotonous. Still a pretty decent album.

52 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Symphonica
    Of course, Incubus can do no wrong by my standards, and the album is by no means listenable.
    What? Regardless, solid overview of the album. I've only ever listened to Light Grenades, but this sounds like a nice dreamy ride. Anyone interested in such calm, almost ambient music should check out Devin Townsend Project's Ghost. It's a wicked album.
    -LGuitar
    I'm loving this album so far, and I've only had a few hours. The best songs in my opinion are Thieves, Promises Promises, In the Company of Wolves and Isadore. I don't see why everyone dislikes it. Sure, there's less guitars, but that doesn't matter when it sounds as good as it does. The lyrics are brilliant too (In the Company of Wolves is the prime example here).
    incunity
    It took me a whole month to really give this a good listen. Initially I thought the CD was ok, but after a long time of listening, I keep noticing more and more that I like. I recommend giving it a few listens before really judging it. I would have initially given it between a 6-7, but now I'd say between 8/8.5...I really enjoy Brandon's vocals on this album also
    GITARdud391
    If there's anything to be said about this album is that it's a grower. You HAVE to give it time to sit and soak. I love Incubus but I was very disappointed with it when I first listened to it, ( and after the 2nd and 3rd listen) but every once in awhile I'd come back to it and now I absolutely love it. If you truly love Incubus, then you'll like this album. It's definitely different from anything else they've done, but, that's Incubus for ya!
    GITARdud391
    nonni07 wrote: i never get it why people say that they are always "experimenting" and theres a new sound on every album. I dont aggree with that at all, S.C.I.E.N.C.E was different but all the others album are the same and this one is also. So to say that this album "is completely different from anything theyd done" is bullshit
    So explain to me how Make Yourself is the same as A Crow Left Of The Murder? Or how Morning View is the same as Light Grenades? Have you actually LISTENED to those albums? Or the new one??? It sounds to me like you haven't....
    acousticslave
    I really like this album a lot. My ears might be biased because Incubus is my favorite band, though. Still my favorite release this year, though. As far as what I think of it, I don't like it more than Light Grenades, and I'm a HUGE fan of Light Grenades. It's probably my least favorite of their albums with Ben Kenney, (I don't completely count their first two) but I still love it nonetheless. I'll be listening to this a lot but I'm sure I'll end up back with Light Grenades, Morning View, Make Yourself and A Crow Left of The Murder for my Incubus fix.
    ziproman
    Let's be honest, this wasn't good. I bought my copy at Best Buy, and the only good songs were Switchblade, Dig Live, and Pardon Me Live. Since 2 of those songs already exist= FAIL. COME ON! If Not Now, When? I'll tell you; between Make Yourself and Morning View. That's when. Think about it. If we have heard this after Make Yourself, we would have loved it and thought it was progressive. Then our socks would have gotten rocked off come Morning View, which has elements of INNW, but also great rock! To me, sound-wise, this is where this album goes. It seems like this album came out of nowhere. There was no news, then album in 3 months along with tons of side shit. In the back of my mind, I KNEW this was going to suck, I just wished it wouldn't have. This album makes me appreciate Crow and Grenades so much more. I would have almost preferred an "Incubus Covers Good Rock Songs" album to this. It's like Incubus brought an ugly girlfriend home. We just have to wait this out for the good looking one!
    Superperfex
    This is an amazing album because they are finally opening up to us guys. Face it, when a band that can easily make the same heavy record many times if they wanted writes this kind of album, it shows they're trying to tell us something. Don't you think theyre tired of having a bunch of songs that are all heavy and complex. They wanted to write this simple album.
    RaKooN13
    GITARdud391 wrote: RaKooN13 wrote: Well, this morning before work, i received the email instruction to download from Incubus. i listened to it all day through work and have been since I've gotten home. I agree with others, it's definitely an album that you have to let soak in. it took me about 2 listens to get into it and i have to say, I love it. Now, is it my favorite album? No. I'll say that my favorite always will be A Crow Left of the Murder, but i can find something I love about every album, even the crazy ass Fungus Amongus. In the 10 or so years that I've listened to them, I've never been disappointed really. Agree with everything said here. My favorite Incubus album is definitely ACLOTM but I love each of their albums for different reasons. You have to separate them from each other. This album is no different. It's honestly a really good album and it really adds some depth to their catalogue. Last week they livestreamed a bunch of concerts and they played a few songs off of the new album (while actually ending the week by playing the new album in its entirety) and they really do make their set more dynamic. All I can say to people who are skeptical of the album or apprehensive because it doesn't "rock" or have "distorted guitars" (which there are on a few songs) is to just open your mind and give it a chance. Your ears will be happy you did.
    hehe Im happy to see a positive response, thank you I do wanna add to your comment about the skeptics of this album. People do wanna see the heavier Rock style that they have always had in their albums, wether it was the heavy crunch of S.C.I.E.N.C.E or that crazy guitar work on the song Priceless, for example. What people need to realize though is that bands mature and evolve. And its not the fans decision on how they should make a record. You don't tell an artist how he should paint HIS painting; it's the artist's decision. The same goes for music. Now would I like to hear distortion and chaotic riffs? Yeah, sure, but that's why I own all the albums, so I can go back and listen. And hell, they inspire me to make my own. This album is a good evolution and it definitely proves to be a different one for them, but thats experimentation for ya.
    bokma
    I love how half the comments are praising Devin Townsend instead of the Incubus album... Dev deserves it
    rocker222
    devin townsend is an amazing guitarist. he deserves to be talked about on this crappy incubus topic.
    ktlb07
    this album is basically a collection of pop songs. the only reason i enjoy them is because i think the musicians were sincere. its not just 3 old men writing tunes for a 16 year old or something. INCUBUS ROCKS!
    ColdbringeR
    Well, at least I know their next album will be an improvement, because it can't get any ****ing worse than this ...
    NodgeLives
    Slipknot575 wrote: Anyone interested in such calm, almost ambient music should check out Devin Townsend Project's Ghost. It's a wicked album. Thanks for the recommendation man. I checked it out and it was the sickest thing I've heard in a long time.
    +1
    grantusmcgrant
    Too bad when I write c U n t on here it gets blanked. It has to be said that if you can't see how good this album is then you are one. Give it a couple of listens and then you'll see.
    talichos
    INCREIBLE!!! Incubus siempre con un nuevo ritmo para todos sus albumes, este album no es la excepcion, apegados mas a un tono tranquilo han podido crear una obra de arte en cuestin de instrumentos y voz. Realmente un buen material que puede ser escuchado repetidas veces sin que uno se canse.
    talichos
    Awesome! another new sound like always! a relaxing sound that with the instruments and the voice it makes a perfect combination. it is very armonic! and "Promises, promises" the best album's song.
    DonGlover
    BluddyBoy123 wrote: I like how a majority of the comments so far are about Devin Townsend.
    Every comment should be about Devy.
    nonni07
    i never get it why people say that they are always "experimenting" and theres a new sound on every album. I dont aggree with that at all, S.C.I.E.N.C.E was different but all the others album are the same and this one is also. So to say that this album "is completely different from anything theyd done" is bullshit
    =McS=
    It's aight. I like maybe 3 or 4 tracks. Not worth the wait, but it's not horrible.
    Strato87
    i gotta be honest ive had the album for a good month or two and only a few songs have caught my attention. adolescents is definately the best song, considering its the only one with guitar and drums and bass (basically anything other than brandons vocals which drown out the music completely). when i got to the song switchblade i was dissapointed, then the song brought a very upbeat pace and i thought that there may have been a turning point, then once again i was let down by brandons flaming homosexual lyrics "light like a feather, bright like a dying star..." i got a few smiles from the album, but we should have seen this coming since light grenades. i give the album a five outta ten
    GITARdud391
    RaKooN13 wrote: Well, this morning before work, i received the email instruction to download from Incubus. i listened to it all day through work and have been since I've gotten home. I agree with others, it's definitely an album that you have to let soak in. it took me about 2 listens to get into it and i have to say, I love it. Now, is it my favorite album? No. I'll say that my favorite always will be A Crow Left of the Murder, but i can find something I love about every album, even the crazy ass Fungus Amongus. In the 10 or so years that I've listened to them, I've never been disappointed really.
    Agree with everything said here. My favorite Incubus album is definitely ACLOTM but I love each of their albums for different reasons. You have to separate them from each other. This album is no different. It's honestly a really good album and it really adds some depth to their catalogue. Last week they livestreamed a bunch of concerts and they played a few songs off of the new album (while actually ending the week by playing the new album in its entirety) and they really do make their set more dynamic. All I can say to people who are skeptical of the album or apprehensive because it doesn't "rock" or have "distorted guitars" (which there are on a few songs) is to just open your mind and give it a chance. Your ears will be happy you did.
    Slipknot575
    Anyone interested in such calm, almost ambient music should check out Devin Townsend Project's Ghost. It's a wicked album.
    Thanks for the recommendation man. I checked it out and it was the sickest thing I've heard in a long time.
    Slash181
    +6,000,000 devin townsend is a ****ing saint. the best musician and most diverse ive ever heard. awesome live aswell.
    JoshOnLama
    incunity wrote: It took me a whole month to really give this a good listen. Initially I thought the CD was ok, but after a long time of listening, I keep noticing more and more that I like. I recommend giving it a few listens before really judging it. I would have initially given it between a 6-7, but now I'd say between 8/8.5...I really enjoy Brandon's vocals on this album also
    Reading this gives me hope of still buying it , just i'm afraid this might turn out to be exactly like thousand suns cause i pretty much enjoyed that album also.
    elcapitan1800
    GITARdud391 wrote: If there's anything to be said about this album is that it's a grower. You HAVE to give it time to sit and soak. I love Incubus but I was very disappointed with it when I first listened to it, ( and after the 2nd and 3rd listen) but every once in awhile I'd come back to it and now I absolutely love it. If you truly love Incubus, then you'll like this album. It's definitely different from anything else they've done, but, that's Incubus for ya!
    I hope you are right! Incubus is my favorite band, and I love how their CDs always grow on you, there is just so much depth. I have made it through this one probably 8 or 10 times, and it still hasnt hooked me yet, but time will tell... They just write such good rock songs!
    CarlosHigg
    Symphonica : Of course, Incubus can do no wrong by my standards, and the album is by no means listenable. What? Regardless, solid overview of the album. I've only ever listened to Light Grenades, but this sounds like a nice dreamy ride. Anyone interested in such calm, almost ambient music should check out Devin Townsend Project's Ghost. It's a wicked album. / quote |
    I got confused too lol. Think he meant it was average for the first half.
    mind_in_space
    incunity wrote: It took me a whole month to really give this a good listen. Initially I thought the CD was ok, but after a long time of listening, I keep noticing more and more that I like. I recommend giving it a few listens before really judging it. I would have initially given it between a 6-7, but now I'd say between 8/8.5...I really enjoy Brandon's vocals on this album also
    On a random note (try not to flame people) this is what happened to me with A Thousand Suns (Linkin Park for those of you who don't know). After giving it a few listens from start to end it grew on me.
    gmoney2748
    JoshOnLama wrote: Reading this gives me hope of still buying it , just i'm afraid this might turn out to be exactly like thousand suns cause i pretty much enjoyed that album also.
    Wait what??
    jjclaws
    Definitely a grower which for me are usually the best albums. I admit you go through the tracks hoping for a rocker at times but that aside, if you forget or stop hoping for a rocker and appreciate the album for what it is I personally think the music is amazing and great vocals as usual.
    Andragon
    "In the Company of Wolves" is excellent. It's actually a solid album.
    burnsz82
    nonni07 wrote: i never get it why people say that they are always "experimenting" and theres a new sound on every album. I dont aggree with that at all, S.C.I.E.N.C.E was different but all the others album are the same and this one is also. So to say that this album "is completely different from anything theyd done" is bullshit
    No, it's not bullshit because plenty of hardcore Incubus fans are confused by this album since it has a chill, slow, deep, rich, ambient sound. They've always had these elements trickling into their sound. The sound on this album is much different than any album as a whole they've put out. I've loved all their albums and enjoy this one as well, even though I've only listened to it a few times. Once again, it makes me wonder why fans bitch about a band that changes directions. It's boring to hear a band keep doing the same thing, even though to me Incubus has always been diverse on each record.
    RaKooN13
    nonni07 wrote: i never get it why people say that they are always "experimenting" and theres a new sound on every album. I dont aggree with that at all, S.C.I.E.N.C.E was different but all the others album are the same and this one is also. So to say that this album "is completely different from anything theyd done" is bullshit
    Have you actually listened to every Incubus album? There is definitely a change with every release. They've gone from a crazy heavy Funk hybrid sound, to an almost Nu Metal sound, then to a more generalized alternative rock sound. A Crow Left of the Murder was a big game changer, and a great one in my opinion. since then, they've progressively mellowed out more and more. This new album, which i got this morning and have been listening to nonstop, is definetly a different one. Its not something i would heard come outta Incubus 10 years ago when i first heard them.
    RaKooN13
    Well, this morning before work, i received the email instruction to download from Incubus. i listened to it all day through work and have been since I've gotten home. I agree with others, it's definitely an album that you have to let soak in. it took me about 2 listens to get into it and i have to say, I love it. Now, is it my favorite album? No. I'll say that my favorite always will be A Crow Left of the Murder, but i can find something I love about every album, even the crazy ass Fungus Amongus. In the 10 or so years that I've listened to them, I've never been disappointed really.
    Redfinton22
    Symphonica wrote: Of course, Incubus can do no wrong by my standards, and the album is by no means listenable. What? Regardless, solid overview of the album. I've only ever listened to Light Grenades, but this sounds like a nice dreamy ride. Anyone interested in such calm, almost ambient music should check out Devin Townsend Project's Ghost. It's a wicked album.
    +1000. I was listening to DT while reading this review hahaha
    Private Eye
    This album hasn't quite hooked me yet, but reading some of these comments gives me hope. I love Incubus and want so badly to like it :/