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Light Grenades
Epic Records

Incubus' hit singles "Megalomaniac" in 2004 and 2005's "Nice To Know You" put the 5-piece band on the global music map. After taking a year off to compile tracks for their sixth studio album Light Grenades, Incubus - who call Los Angeles, California home today - got some much needed R&R (rest and relaxation) and are ready to return to the touring circuit, feeling good about their new release produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Bob Dylan, Rage Against The Machine). The songs on Light Grenades have reflections of the band's old alternative rock/nu-metal shells with combustible guitar rips and chains of ranting drums but enhanced them with new components to attract new fans who are looking for melodically juiced vocals absorbed by refined emo-esque shading in the instrumentation. Incubus show on their latest album that they take their art seriously, and they do treat their music as an art form and are willing to explore beyond the boundaries of the alternative rock/nu-metal/post grunge realm.

Formed in 1991 in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Calabasas, California, band members Brandon Boyd (vocals), Mike Einziger (guitar), and Jose Pasillas (drums) came together in the tenth grade and formed Incubus. It was a time when the music scene was filled with burgeoning grunge and alternative rock bands, mostly from the Seattle, Washington area. Incubus made a name for themselves as early as 1999 with their album Make Yourself which left a lasting impression on US radio listeners due to the success of "Drive" and "Pardon Me." In 1998, Chris Kilmore joined the fold on organ, piano, and melloton and bassist Ben Kenny came on board in 2003 replacing previous members DJ Lyfe and Dirk Lance, respectively. The themes on Light Grenades show a maturity in the band's sense of harmonizing and tailoring the instrument parts to sound good together. Incubus' raspy guitar hooks accouter the title track and the rock umbras of "A Kiss To Send Us Off." The album also lightens up with atmospheric bouts like "Quicksand" and "Dig" shingling a succession of silhouetted tones, fluttering apertures in the notes, and smooth vocal melodies that take on a similar shape to Xiu Xiu, As Tall As Lions and Hem.

Incubus also dips into power ballad kingdoms, very close to those power ballad bands of the early '90s like Firehouse and Warrant, and more currently Dashboard Confessional, with "Love Hurts" and "Oil And Water." The mid-tempo numbers like "Diamonds And Coal" and "Anna Molly" toss in rumpled guitar lines and tight keyboard segments that come close to sounding like vintage Incubus with metallic shackles wrapped around layers of instrument frazzles. Still present are the tender sentiments which honed "Pardon Me" and "Drive" audible on "Earth To Bella: Part 1" and "Earth To Bella: Part 2." Incubus manages to spawn frailty and elegance while piling textures of metal based sequences with serried action and flurries.

Incubus have weathered conditions created by Linkin Park, Korn, Deftones, and POD in the past and they continue to grow, embrace and adapt to music's mutable currents. Their latest album Light Grenades is music that is representative of its time and has possibly even fashioned a few songs that have a timeless quality to add to the band's collection of "Pardon Me." Incubus remains creative in music's ever changing mood swings and has broadened their mindsets without relying on contrived fillers to produce movement. They eased up on the stiffness that nu-metal bands often fall into and let maturity take control.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. Quicksand
2. A Kiss To Send Us Off
3. Dig
4. Anna Molly
5. Love Hurts
6. Light Grenades
7. Earth To Bella (Part 1)
8. Oil And Water
9. Diamonds And Coal
10. Rogues
11. Paper Shoes
12. Pendulous Threads
13. Earth To Bella (Part 2)

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