‘Light Grenades’ is an album of many highs and the occasional low...
Chris Reynolds
09:54 30th November 2006
Incubus are one of the few genuine examples of evolution in a band in today’s music scene. Their early days saw them toting a funky Faith No More inspired sound with rather abstract releases such as ‘Fungus Amongus’ while today we see them as a stadium filling, laid back rock band. Much evolution has occurred in the process of getting to ‘Light Grenades’ most noticeably the bands age. Having started as hyperactive teens they have now developed into family men with a more retrospective outlook on life. As such this album feels like a continuation of the work they produced in their last album ‘A Crow Left of the Murder’ but with an even more laid back outlook. If you desire a return to the days of tracks such as ‘Vitamin’ and ‘New Skin’ you will be left disappointed.  If, however, you enjoyed ‘Morning View’ and the aforementioned ‘A Crow Left of the Murder’ albums you will be more than satisfied with their new release.
 
The rock tracks crossed with ballads formula which worked so well before is again utilised as they open with ‘Quicksand’ into ‘A Kiss to Send us Off’. The former is a hollowed out introduction laden with DJ cuts and piano while the latter is a hard rocking statement of intent. As ever their penchant for climatic choruses is proven as Brandon Boyd sings the song title over funky bass after a drum frenzy. So far, so good.
 
The albums heavier sides are sublime, ‘Light Grenades’ the song is a punky rock number which crams in everything in a meagre 2 ½ minutes. The pace of the track dictates that this is the way it should be with Boyd’s vocals again being strained of every last lyric over aggressive tub thumping. â€˜Oil And Water’ is in the middle ground between ballad and rock song with a gentle intro and an easy going but rapid chorus.  It is probably the best utilisation of Boyd’s vocals too with everything else taking a back seat to his powerful verses.
 

 
The ballad side is also impressive but perhaps over done.  The highlights are ‘Dig’, ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Earth To Bella pts 1 & 2’.  ‘Dig’ is a hugely satisfying track which is reminiscent of the Californian Beaches the band love so much. The music, while laid back, is utterly convincing because of the extremely polished nature of the band and the production. 
 
The only real criticism is of a tendency to slip onto autopilot and to end up making some songs sound like duplicates of the others. 'Diamonds And Coal’ is rather uninspiring and feels like another generic love song. The beauty to Incubus however is that just as your disappointment is aroused they bring out a track like ‘Rogues’ to follow it which reminds you of their natural strength in rock music. 
 
‘Light Grenades’ is an album of many highs and the occasional low. Brandon Boyd still sounds as fresh as he did 10 years ago while Ben Kenney has clearly freshened up and improved the bass department since Dirk Lance left. It may not be a huge change from their previous album but Incubus’s evolution since their early days has been so dramatic that you finally feel like they are finding their niche in the music industry. â€˜Light Grenades’ is testament to this.