Sound — 9
Incubus has always been an amazing band, and while some have thought they have left their more agressive sound to pursue their "more poetic" side, I love what they have done with this album to establish themselves in more than one genre. Their original sound was best established on "S.C.I.E.N.C.E." and made people realize that they had a very different sound from anything else out at the time. When "Make Yourself" came out they were still at the top of their game, but were moving closer to a more alternative mainstream sound. And then there was "Morning View". Moving to a calmer sound, they disappointed many of their more agressive-loving fans, while gaining many fans that enjoyed their softer side. I am both. I have loved almost everything they have ever done, and was not disappointed by anything on this album. This sound, while still remaining heavy and fast in some points, sounded nothing like their other albums, mostly because of the less-agressive sound, and more poetic lyrics. Mike (guitar) weaves his guitar effortlessly through Brandon's singing and plays well while sharing the spotlight with Dirk, who is one of my favorite bassists, while doing really intricate things on "Echo" and "Just A Phase", solid sounding guitar work on tracks such as "Nice To Know You" and "Under My Umbrella", a nice acoustic ballad on "Mexico" and some neat harmonics on "Are You In?". Dirk (bass), once again, plays superbly on "Morning View", and keeps the focus on the music as a whole. He really shines on the tracks such as "Nice To Know You", "Under My Umbrella", "Are You In?", and "Echo." Jose (drums and percussion) keeps the beats alive and quick with his expert drumming, and quirky style. Although all of beats are solid my favorites are: "Circles", "Just A Phase", "Warning" and "Are You In?" Chris (DJ) didn't get as much recognition on this album as he did on some of the others (i.e. Battlestar Scralatchtica, and Drive), But his most noticeable works on this album result in the tracks "Just a Phase" and "Warning."
Lyrics — 10
The most poetic and touching lyrics they have ever written, along with some thought heavy lines such as Circles: "Hey, what would it mean to you, to know that it'll come back around again? Hey, whatever it means to you, know that everything goes in circles, yeah." There are just moments on this album that keep you thinking and some that let you know exactly what he was thinking when he wrote and sung them. My favorite lyrical tracks would be: "Just a Phase","Blood on the Ground","Are You In?" and "Mexico." As you should know, Brandon is an excellent singer and lyricist, and shows through on tracks such as "Mexico" and "Are You In?"
Overall Impression — 10
01. Nice To Know You - a very nice intro to the rest of the album, where the entire band really gets aggressive and keeps the beat nice and steady. 02. Circles - not a heavy track per-say but not in any way a slow song at all. The lyrics are thoughtful and very alive though. 03. Wish You Were Here - personally my least favorite track on the album, not because it's a bad song, but mostly because it was very overplayed on the radio and television. 04. Just A Phase - my personal favorite, it is an excellent track speaking about the different phases of life and explanations for them. 05. 11am - excellent vocals and heartfelt lyrics hold this song as a "wake-up call." 06. Blood On The Ground - interesting track about knowing when to hold your tongue, and knowing when to speak. 07. Mexico - a touching acoustic track about relationships. 08. Warning - a very experimental track simply about a girl. 09. Echo - a different sounding track about the reasons for loving someone. 10. Have You Ever - this track, while having some thoughtful lyrics, feels like just another track that got "shoved" onto the album. 11. Are You In? - a song talking about how "It's so much better" when everyone is included and cool with each other. 12. Under My Umbrella - another experimental track with some very bass-heavy verses and dreamy lyrics. 13. Aqueous Transmission - by far the furthest thing they've done form their original work. This track experiments with different instruments such as asian strings and others while ending the album with chirping crickets.