If Not Now, When? Review

artist: Incubus date: 02/08/2012 category: compact discs
Incubus: If Not Now, When?
Released: Jul 12, 2011
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Epic
Number Of Tracks: 11
Incubus 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.
 Sound: 8.7
 Lyrics: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 8.3
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reviews (3) 60 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.7
If Not Now, When? Reviewed by: Barrol.Rell, on july 12, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 7

Lyrics: 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. // 6

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

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overall: 9.7
If Not Now, When? Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 08, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Simple... Relaxed (for a nice change of pace) Incubus fans for the most part are always expecting the same. Thrashing guitars and heavy beats. Incubus does this well "but" also demonstrates that they are true musicians who are not afraid to take a detour every so often. "If Not Now, When?" is a mellower version of Incubus that demonstrates the maturity and creativeness and abilities of the band. // 10

Lyrics: In the "Company Of Wolves" lyrics are stunning. For the most part I have never been disappointed with lyrics in this band's music. Boyd's style in my opinion is one that is refined, intelligent and very creative. He's very articulate which add that certain sense of class and sophistication to his character. Then on the flip side, when he cuts loose he really knows how to appeal to the senses of the rougher side. // 9

Overall Impression: I can truly say that most bands are stuck on one style. Incubus is very interesting that they take a step outside the box every so often. When I read other reviews and comments that instantly discredits this band or speaks poorly of them such as "they suck because they changed their style"; it makes me angry. They will continue making good music to appeal to their loyal fan base, but also will try to expand their fan base. Why condemn them for trying to expand their horizons? // 10

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overall: 8
If Not Now, When? Reviewed by: Cloudeater7, on august 03, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Incubus continues to release albums that have different musical qualities than their previous creations. If Not Now, When? does not break this pattern. I would actually say this album is one of the bigger steps they have made in producing a new sound, which is more "pop" than they've ever sounded. This is not technically a bad thing, but I think a large portion of their fans will be disappointed by this new sound. I personally like the new sound. I definitely wouldn't mind a few faster, biting songs, but this album allows space to breath and it is refreshing. As far as sound quality goes, this album is absolutely stellar. It's sonically their best album. I have always loved Incubus, but something with the mixing/producing of their albums has always bothered me. Not enough bass, muddy instrument tone, I'm not sure... All I know is, on this album whatever was bothering me before is not present. This album is definitely a great vinyl album/headphone album! // 9

Lyrics: Lyrically, this album is extremely hit or miss. Some lyrics are pure poetry, where some are cheesy. Brandon is a master poet but some songs just don't click with me. (Will explain more below) Vocally though, this album is amazing. Every album Brandon's vocal ability improves upon the last. // 7

Overall Impression: As I previously stated, this is Incubus' most mellow and poppy album, as well as musically their most beautiful album. That said, at the end of this album you are still left with an empty feeling that you didn't get to rock out in classic Incubus fashion. Following is my track-by-track opinion - 01. If Not Now, When?: the best track on the album, easy (in my opinion). Every instrument fits perfect, vocally and lyrically amazing. As always, every person has a different musical taste, but for me, the lyrics really speak to me. I recommend checking out the live studio version of this song on YouTube, it is truly beautiful. 02. Promises, Promises: at first I thought this song was meh, but it has started to grow on me. This song is very pop, almost Elton John-ish. The lyrics are pretty neat and the tell a story I think most listeners could relate to. 03. Friends And Lovers: this song takes a lot of heat in other reviews for being very cliche and cheesy, but this is actually one of my favorite songs on the album. The piano is great. "I've seen the porcelain shell/Your exoskeleton/And I feel like we walk well together" - great little snippet. 04. Thieves: great instrumental track. But I feel the lyrics and vocal melody bring this song down. "Or must I be a god-fearing, white American?" - The melody right here just disrupts the flow of the song for me personally and the lyrics are very cliche. I don't love or hate this track. 05. Isadore: awesome song. One of the highlights of the album. I little bit hard to explain this in words, you're just going to have to listen to this yourself. This song reminds me of Drive, but the lyrics tell a love story. I expect this song to be a fan favorite for the album. I can't wait to see how this song evolves for live performances. 06. The Original: another one of my favorites. The section where the lyrics are "girl you're the original" bothered me during the first few listens because it seemed to change the flow of the song, but maybe that's just me. Aside from that this song is beautiful. "You effortlessly ring that bell" gives me chills, every time. Fantastic song instrumentally as well. 07. Defiance: acoustic track. Great guitar, weak lyrics and vocals. I wish Brandon would rewrite these lyrics and change the melody, because the song had great potential. Not a bad song, but I feel as if Mike had envisioned a different vocal melody when he wrote the guitar for this track. 08. In The Company Of Wolves: when I read the title of this track I thinking I would finally get to rock out, but I was surprisingly mistaken, not in a bad way per se. This song has two distinct sections. The first is mellow and almost a little boring, but not bad. The second section is definitely the stand out section and is totally awesome. As it is often said, this song is very Pink Floyd, which is definitely welcome. Lyrically the whole track is great, but definitely fits better in the second section. Saw this live in Santa Barbara and it blew my mind. 09. Switchblade: definitely a change of pace for this album, very upbeat and interesting, but after several listens this track started to annoy me. Some people my love this track but, it's not my cup of coffee. Lyrics are great and for the first time in the album are easily the highlight of the song. 10. Adolcents: solid track. Heaviest (if it can be called heavy) of the album. I can't really pick out anything that I absolutely love or hate, but this song is good and I enjoy it. 11. Tomorrow's Food: just okay. Wish the album could end on a more memorable tune. All of the songs, good or bad, up to this point have always felt like Incubus, but this is the exception... This song just lacks that Incubus feel. I guess the best way to describe this song is by stating the fact that I never intentionally select this track and if it comes up, I skip it. Overall, this album is beautiful, but it has it's "huh?" moments and moments where I am left disappointed. If at first you don't like this album, I highly recommend listening to it with a pair of quality headphone to experience the truly great sound of this album. MUST LISTENS - If Not Now, When?, Promises Promises, Friends and Lovers, Isadore, The Original, In The Company of Wolves. // 8

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