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Incubus - Morning View Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 October 2001

Morning View
format: CD
label: Epic Records
release year: 2001
performance: 9
sound 7.5
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey

ImageI’ve been searching all year for and album that I can wholeheartedly recommend to you, and I have found it in Incubus’ latest entitled Morning View. Not overly metal yet not wuss rock either, Incubus makes tuneful hard/alternative music that is melodic enough for the casual music fan and complex enough to appeal to you musicians out there. Surfers, skaters, jocks and regular Joes who like alternative music will find something to like here. Recorded at a gargantuan home/studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, CA. Incubus has injected a loose beach vibe into Morning View that is simply infectious.
This talented quintet of twenty- and thirtysomethings may be considered Gen Xers, but have no fear, they don’t try to bring you down with negative lyrics in the manner of so much new music being released today. There is a spiritual quality to much of Incubus’ music, best heard on tracks such as "Just a Phase" and "Mexico," with subtle strings and acoustic guitar tracks that provide plenty of blood pressure-lowering music to help you kick back and chill. If MTV brought back the show "Unplugged," Incubus would get my vote to be the first band to perform.

Incubus perfectly mixes in the rocking songs with their softer moments. Tracks like "Have You Ever" and "Under My Umbrella" both have distorted bass guitar parts that will shake, rattle and roll your speakers. On the song "11am," you get the best of both worlds. They rock the house, bring it down, then rock it on out.

DJ Killmore spins the wheels of steel, but there isn’t the slightest hint of rap to be found on Morning View. His work is best experienced with a good pair of headphones. Singer Brandon Boyd has a voice that brings Faith No More’s Mike Patton to mind (check out the song "Just a Phase" and see what you think) and writes lyrics that are often ambiguous but always poetic and thought-provoking.

The signature Incubus guitar sound, courtesy of the band’s unsung axeman Mike Einziger is a slightly overdriven tone with a healthy dose of flanger and chorus effect. With the guitar tracks swirling around in the mix, a clean acoustic guitar track will often be blended in to round out the musician’s sound. There isn’t another band that sounds like Incubus, but despite their distinctive sound, there aren’t many Incubus songs that sound like self-parodies.

The ultra-simple track "Are You In" has a laid-back shuffle groove and lyrics so straightforward and catchy that you’ll have the song memorized after one listen. It’s such a feel-good song, you may find yourself giving it an extra spin.

The album’s most artsy moment comes on the song "Aqueous Transmission," a seven-minute epic with Asian instrumentation over a smooth hip-hop beat. I’ve heard some crazy musical marriages, but this one takes the cake. The cool thing about this song is that the experiment actually ends up working.

My only complaint with Morning View, besides that it sounds a tad over-produced at times is, the fact that the inside of the CD cover has 18 tracks listed but there are only 13 on the disc. I’ve tried to search high and low on the CD for these hidden songs, but have had no luck so far. However, a short multi-media video clip entitled "The Making of Morning View" is included on the limited edition release. There’s not much structure to this little video montage, which is filled with shots of the band playing pool in the Malibu studio, recording their tracks, watching TV, chipping golf balls in the back yard, and doing the crazy stuff you’d expect to see a band doing in the studio. Incubus had a pretty big success with their last album Make Yourself, but if there were any pressure or high expectations with Morning View, it doesn’t seem to show on this documentary.

In the end, Incubus has bettered their last album this time around and I can tell you that you’re going to be hearing new Incubus tracks on the radio, MTV and VH1 for quite some time. This album is deep and should have quite the long shelf life.

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