Morning View


Sony, 2001

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


It's been six years since DV reviewer Christopher Thelen asked if Incubus would go anywhere. I think it's safe to say they have, man.

Oddly, Incubus started as a funk band, then tried their hand at hard rock, classic rock, classic pop and back into hard rock. I would call this their "classic pop" album, only because I can think of no other genre for it.

Many Incubus purists (Incubators…sorry, couldn't resist) decried this album. Where are the grinding riffs? Why did the band who opened for Black Sabbath record an album with backing vocals and a song with only an acoustic guitar? And what the hell is "Aqueous Transmission"? It's got an Indian vibe to it, for God's sake (or Shiva's sake, I guess). How dare a hard rock band experiment?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

OK, enough cynicism. Basically, this album is a highlight of the late '90s because it showed the range and depth of Incubus' songwriting. The hard rockers are here, next to introspective numbers, musings on life and love, solos and long introductions and some great muscular production.

After the incubation (har!) period of their first three albums, singer Brandon's Boyd voice came out fully developed here. He growls, speaks, croons and belts through the 13 songs here. He gets into a psychedelic sound on "Just A Phase" and passionately sings "Mexico" over just an acoustic guitar.

In some places, his voice sounds a bit whiny, but the band makes up for it with a genuine love for what they're playing. The rock never sounds like one expects it to, but veers off into different time signatures and incorporates a DJ to mix things up a bit. "Warning" and "Nice To Know You" are standard modern rock songs, but odd enough to belong to Incubus. The harder songs like "Circle" and "Have You Ever" use driving bass lines and loud/soft dynamics to get their point across.

Some of the songs are a bit mundane ("Blood On The Ground," "11 a.m."), while others like "Under My Umbrella" and "Wish You Were Here" help flesh out the band's personality. Of course, the Indian-influenced "Aqueous Transmission" is the group's weirdest and longest song, but it's catchy, something other bands of this ilk could not have pulled off.

Incubus will appeal to other musicians more than everyday rock fans who just want a few power chords. Boyd and Co. have something to say and have found a more interesting way to say it than many of their modern rock counterparts. Morning View is a challenging, rewarding and fun album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B



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