Rhythm & Views


The problem with writing about so much independent music is that I lose touch with the major-label bands. For example, I had never listened to an Incubus album before. Didn't even remember that they existed. But then my husband brought home Light Grenades.

"Seriously, this is a great album," he said as I raised my eyebrows in skepticism. But something about the way "Quicksand" builds reminded me of Alice in Chains; strings tune down into "A Kiss to Send Us Off"; "Light Grenades" explodes into angry guitar riffs reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Light Grenades is like being excited by all of the things that were exciting about early-'90s rock again.

The hook on the chorus of "Love Hurts" makes up for the song's hideous title, and the acoustic guitar on "Earth to Bella (Part 1)" rollercoasters into boinging guitars. The hook bleeding all over "Oil and Water" also forgives its hideous title. The 14-year-old girl in me loves "Rogues" and its fast-moving vehicles.

I get the feeling that the title track is more like what the band's previous work sounds like, and I also get the feeling that there might be a reason why I haven't paid attention to Incubus until now: Perhaps the songs I like on this record are not, in fact, characteristic. I hope they are; it'd be a sad thing if tricks like the twinkling guitar on "Dig" and the dynamics play of the two "Earth to Bella" songs aren't part of Incubus' normal repertoire.

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