A Crow Left of the Murder (Epic Records)
By: Mike SOS
After legal entanglements and a founding member's departure, Incubus get back on track with its latest release, a 14-track collection that showcases the band at its creative nexus. Reprising the art of the jam found on the California clan's previous releases while maintaining the enriched songwriting that made the outfit the darlings of the rock world, standout tracks such as "Pistola" and "Sick Sad Little World" succinctly tie all of the band's ends together to make the kind of mighty musical statement that puts Incubus in the same category as Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana. While the newly acquired Ben Kenney holds the rhythms down with walloping grace (especially in the funkified hard rock of "Priceless"), the rest of the crew, especially Mike Einziger, whose stunning fretwork screams of guitar hero-dom, are able to branch out into experimental territories that run from the free-form, Pearl Jam-esque quirk of "Zee Deveel" to the laid back groove of "Agoraphobia" and dynamic challenge of "Beware! Criminal". Of course, the focus of most female's affections, vocalist Mr. Brandon Boyd, throws everything he's got into this mix, giving off thought-provoking lyrical content backed by the most soulful delivery found in rock today, especially on the album's opening scorcher, "Meglomaniac" and the seething closer "Leech". It's safe to say that Incubus have found its niche, and some may even say this is the band's finest work to date. Yet, even though A Crow Left of the Murder finds the band comfortably at the height of its popularity, the insatiable creative drive that brought them to this place has reappeared in wondrous forms, all the while maintaining the big hooks and stellar riffs that all rock fans crave. One of the year's best thus far, and definitely a milestone release for Incubus.
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