I almost didn’t write a post on this dual album, because it’s technically more of a greatest hits than a new album, but this is a band that is up there with influence to my love of the music game. Last time I saw one of the members of Incubus was at a Fry’s Electronics shortly after Ben Kenney left The Roots for Incubus. He was with DJ Kilmore, and after a brief conversation, got a signed dollar bill by the boys. I still feel bad for not realizing who Ben was at the time, but c’mon….Chris Kilmore had me a little star struck.
I still get the nostalgia of Incubus’ history starting with Fungus Amongus, to when people learned about them through their 1999 album Make Yourself. I still have my original case and disc stuffed into a box in the garage, refusing to let go of that high school-making album.
Their sound changed with the next album, Morning View, and we gained a few dissenters, but still we trucked on with our love of Incubus (more specifically Brandon Boyd for the ladies) all the way to the politically charged A Crow Left of the Murder. After breaking free of their contractual coils, the band would soar to high heights again with their fans in a George Bush powered world.
After kicking Bush in the teeth with that album, the band toured a while before releasing Light Grenades in late 2006. This amazing album began what would be a 2 year hiatus before releasing any album. The DVD of their tour, Look Alive gave me a new respect for wanting to travel the world and for the band itself.
And now, we have the bands two disc compilation of their greatest work to date, entitled Monuments and Melodies. But this isn’t just the stuff from yesteryear that you’ve heard before. All but two of the songs on the first disc are singles from their other albums, with Black Heart inertia (the first track) and Midnight Swim (the last track) being the new tracks. From Pardon Me to Oil and Water, there’s plenty to love.
But what really made this compilation worth the PoA (price of admission if you’re nasty) is the second disc. It’s comprised of B-Sides and rarities from across the years.
Keep an ear out for the chorus of the first track, Neither of Us Can See (its accompanying bridge is amazing as well). The song is too true for relationships these days.
Number three, While All the Vultures Feed has an amazing message that you should go and discover for yourself (aka I don’t feel like finding the lyrics for you), put to a guitar heavy background. Ben tiptoes beautifully around the track, making this one of my favorites.
Pantomime is a nostalgic track that my old friend Heidi W. actually showed me years ago. This time around it’s not a live version, but it’s even better than the original.
Both Heidi W. and Kevin T. fell in love with the “lounge” version of Incubus’ track on S.C.I.E.N.C.E.’s A Certain Shade of Green, that made me smile once I heard the band breaking it down for us. It makes it return as the 9th track for a welcome comeback.
And in honor of Prince, Brandon takes us back to 1984 to tell us about “this thing called life”, in the cover of Let’s Go Crazy. Honestly, it’s one of the better covers I’ve heard in a while, and it’s not at all a surprise.
However it’s the second track, Look Alive that may very well be my favorite Incubus song of all time. Maybe it’s because I saw them perform it at the very end of the Look Alive DVD. Or perhaps it’s the ludicrously difficult bass line that Ben Kenney lays down. The whole band is on point with this one; from the submarine intro, to the hurrah yelled by Ben at the end.
The band has come a long way, and according to Mike, we can look forward to another album next year sometime. For now you’ll have to settle for seeing them in concert on tour right now. Me? I’ll be backstage with them at Outside Lands August 28-30 in San Francisco if I have the honor.
Monuments and Melodies is out now, so go cop it and support the boys.
Until next time my friends,
P.S.- Incubus loves their Japanese bonus tracks. Try and get a copy to listen to Make a Move, New Skin, Follow, the acoustic version of Make Yourself, and Kevin T.’s favorite, Crowded Elevator (Damn Kev, remember that one?).