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Incubus returns to its roots

Brian Foy | Thursday, February 5, 2004

A Crow Left of the Murder finds a very different Incubus from their previous effort, 2001’s double platinum Morning View. For starters, founding bassist Dirk Lance left the band over the past summer and was replaced by Ben Kenney, formerly of The Roots. Kenney promised to bring a rejuvenated Incubus into the studio when recording began in October. The boys then decided to record outside their comfort zone of Southern California in favor of the pristine shores of Atlanta, Ga. Finally, the fact that guitarist Mike Einziger was experimenting with new sounds during the past Lollapalooza Tour and invariably brought this new sound into the studio would prove to be the final ingredient in the new Incubus formula.It is evident from the initial track of A Crow Left of the Murder that Incubus will be getting back to louder and angrier roots. The album begins with distortion and seemingly space-age sounds of Incubus’s resident DJ Kilmore. It is from this chaos that Einzinger’s simple guitar work slowly begins to build up with Jose Pasillas’s drums and Brandon Boyd’s now famous trademark croon. The music of the initial track and lead radio single, “Megalomaniac,” appears to come from the same creative mind that produced Incubus’s first album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E. The verse of the song is heavily bass-driven with the guitar coming in and out until it drives the chorus home. It is also clear in the chorus of “Megalomaniac” chorus that Boyd is a much angrier man than the one who belted out tunes such as “Wish You Were Here” and “Drive.” In “Megalomaniac,” Boyd screams: “You’re no Jesus / Yeah you’re no … Elvis.”Upon closer inspection, A Crow Left of the Murder shares qualities with their second release, Make Yourself. The track “Pistola” might very well be the next single off the disc, and at times it seems like it could have been lifted straight from their sophomore effort. The song begins with another clip from DJ Kilmore before fading away to the riff of Einzinger’s guitar and Boyd’s vocals. Once the chorus begins, the introduction clip rejoins as the drums and bass crash in and heighten the already building song that only escalates as Boyd sings “My pen is a pistola.” However, the highlight of the track might very well be the bridge near the end of the song that allows each member of Incubus to showcase what he does best. The timing and musicianship are clear as the bridge feeds into the final verse and chorus.A Crow Left of the Murder is everything that Morning View is not – and everything that it should have been. The former brings Incubus fans full circle as the boys return to their louder distorted roots while expanding their sound to include slower, more mellow songs. The differences in the recording process are clearly for the better and A Crow Left of the Murder is so eclectic that it will appeal to Incubus fans both new and old.

Contact Brian Foy at bfoy@nd.edu