Many bands take a softer approach to their music as they grow older, and Incubus isn't much of an exception. They still have their rocking flair to them, but over the last few records they've been slowly moving away from their older, more rock-oriented sound. Incubus gets softer in 8, their new record, which can at times be a hindrance but does have its positives.
The old Incubus is still very much alive at the core of their music. Incubus has always been known for their almost dreamy, alternative approach to rock. You get that vibe in opening track 'No Fun' with its sweet guitar in the verses and the big choruses. There's definitely a poppier groove in the track, but nonetheless the track has the foundations of Incubus' sound. 'State Of The Art' is similar in its dreamy atmosphere, though it is a much more poppy track than the former.
Despite the brooding idea of pop rock Incubus, it comes off pretty well on a lot of moments of the track. Incubus isn't afraid of getting a little heavy on the record despite its lighter overtone. Single 'Nimble Bastard' rings with a badass flair, as the chugging palm-muted intro builds into a brooding verse and giant choruses. A similar sound comes in 'Love In A Time Of Surveillance' which has a huge drive in the drums to pair with the big, distorted guitar and the track's super groovy nature. 'Throw Out The Map,' too, has a big vibe that brings the album out on a pretty confident note.
Of course, there are some faults on the record. The prime examples of what Incubus sounds like when they incorporate pop rock into their sound are 'State Of The Art' and 'Glitterbomb,' the latter of which has a big ballad vibe. Some tracks feel like they lack a certain punch to them, like 'Undefeated.' While it does have a nice anthemic vibe to it, something about it feels lacking that prevents up from reaching the height that it could. Instrumental 'Make No Sound In The Digital Forest' is a great instrumental that could've been great with Brandon Boyd's vocals over it. It's almost begging for something like the end of 'In This House Of Wolves' to be brought over it. The most genuinely confusing thing about 8 is why someone allowed 'When I Became A Man' to be put on the record.
Incubus has always been a band that never shied from changing themselves. Every record has a different dynamic to it that showcases the band's ability to keep their funky sound alive with the new elements. While Incubus gets softer in 8, it's by no means a fault. Perhaps some tracks feel a bit lacking, but there's almost nothing on this record that really stands out as awful (besides 'When I Became A Man...'). Leave it to Incubus to keep things fresh and true to themselves.
Favorite Tracks: Nimble Bastard, Love In A Time Of Surveillance, State Of The Art
Least Favorite Track: When I Became A Man
Rating: 81 / 100
Buy or listen to 8 here: