Sound — 8
The five piece California-based band has been one distinct entity in an age of trend-whores and faceless "musicians" jumping on bandwagons. After being in the band for virtually 18 years, starting out as a high school band, Incubus is one band that has definitely "made it". This two-disc compilation is a career restrospective to a band that has created it's own little niche by not conforming to one genre in their already illustrious career. One thing that always stands out in an Incubus track, it's the spectacular and instantly recognizable vocals of Brandon Boyd. He has a presence on a song that not many singers in this day have, even after trying in the hardest possbile manner. The first disc is the standard "Greatest Hits" fare, with the band's best known singles along with two new tracks, the groove-laden first single "Black Heart Inertia" and the fantastically poetic "Midnight Swim", with the lengendary Brendan O'Brien taking over the helm as producer. Not many surprises in the choice of making a greatest hits package, with fan favourites like "Drive", "Wish You Were Here", "Stellar", "Pardon Me", "Megalomaniac", and a mini-surprise in a lesser-known song for a greatest hits collection, "Oil and Water", off their last album "Light Grenades". The downside of disc one, though, is the clear absence of tracks like "Vitamin", "Idiot Box" and "New skin" from the memorable debut S.C.I.E.N.C.E. But the real interest of the whole record lies in disc two, which makes Monuments and Melodies a fresh and interesting concept. Opening with "Neither Of Us Can See", an all Brandon Boyd version, unlike the previous version released on the Stealth OST as a duet with Chrissie Hynde, it makes a mark immediately as an easily memorable track. Three tracks into the CD, is the wonderfully infectious "While All The Vultures Feed", with Boyd crooning in his falsetto vocals over the lines "Their appetites callous and menacing/It humbles me/When prey softly outwits its predator/Such is a sight to see". Incubus' ever-so-chilled-out-side reminiscing the Morning View era is seen on the track "Anything", with a clear influence of The Police, with Boyd stating "I don't owe anything to you!", as the song's hook. But the album's real high point is hit on the song "Martini", with a groove which is not a million years away from Sanana's "Smooth", only more fitting to the band's persona. The song is a "new fresh", for a band that has an umpteen "fresh sounds" in it's repertoire already, and is definitely the best new track on the album (though a B-side, officially.). Other strong tracks include the fan favourites like "Punch Drunk"; a pensive and heartfelt track, showcasing Boyd at his best with the pen, the playful and energetic "Look Alive", an updated band-version of "Pantomime", "Admiration", a song that never got the recognition it deserved, and the sappy yet beautiful "Monuments and Melodies". Look out for Mike Einziger's solo at end of band's version of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy".
Lyrics — 9
Lyrics is a one department where Incubus never fails, courtesy Brandon Boyd, the band's vocalist. The lyrics to the new and unreleased tracks on the record are at par, if not a notch higher in certain ways with the previous lyrical content of Incubus' work. The sarcastic touch given in the lines such as "Even the best frame won't change your wet painting into the Mona Lisa" from the aforementioned track "Martini", is one such example. Boyd singing "My hands are trembling/And my eyes are on fire/This house is crumbling/Left brain, left out, on the wire" suits the near heart-breaking vein of the song. The name Brandon Boyd is the key-word in this department.
Overall Impression — 9
The oozing creative energy of Incubus is undeniably felt on this record, be it in the poetic lyrics and prominent vocals of Brandon Boyd, the texture-fills of the now multi-instrumentalist DJ Chris Kilmore, simplistic-sounding yet tight drumming by Jos Pasilla, the funk/raggae influenced bass lines of Ben Kenney (former bassist Dirk Lance deserves a worthy mention.), or the soulful songwriting by the charismatic guitar player, Mike Einziger. This is one record that is different from the regular greatest hits CDs that we have seen in the past. A must-have for an Incubus fan, and a solid introduction to a first-time listener of a great band that is going hold some relevance 25 years from now.