A Bag Left of the Mixed
After a great string of albums Incubus have fallen victim to their own forward momentum. Much akin to criticism of Radioheadâ€šÃ„Ã´s Hail to the Thief, the new Incubus album A Crow Left of the Murder fails in conjunction with its predecessors. Incubus have grown steadily from the ska-funk of Enjoy Incubus to the jam-techno-metal of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. progressing nicely to the ballad-rock of Morning View. At the risk of alienating fans, each subsequent release felt fresh and impressive whereas A Crow Left of the Murder feels out of place with that trajectory. This album resides half way in between Morning View and Make Yourself without keeping the spirit that made each of those records great. Make Yourself utilized refined straight ahead rock forcing Incubus to focus on their melodic songcraft while Morning View exhibited true warmth in a quieter sound. Murder feels like a mixed bag of those elements giving neither enough room to flourish.
That being said this is still a good record. About half the songs work remarkably well. The opening track “Megalomaniac” is a thick upbeat riff-rocker with singer Brandon Boyd using his typcial finger-pointing lyrics for a political message. The title track manages to explode with energy despite a mostly clean sound and simple melodies. “Agoraphobia” is a heartfelt meander with Boyd patiently stating “I want to stay inside for good.” Guitarist Michael Einziger flexes his muscles superbly in the slightly longer “Sick Sad Little World”. Even the near end of album track “Here in My Room” finds the band pulling together a fantastic piano ballad. A Crow Left of the Murder is a good album bogged down by some mediocre songs.