Incubus, "If Not Now, When?"

Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd may be reading some fans' minds when he sings near the end of the band's first album in five years, "I know you vie for the good ol' days." Befitting the hiatus, "If Not Now, When?" is markedly and unapologetically different from its predecessors. The set sheds the heaviness that was always at the core of the quintet's sound for a more subtle and supple dynamic that hews closer to the quieter side of, say, U2. Incubus lets loose only with the staccato drive of "Switchblade," preferring instead to meander through the more textural soundscapes of the title track, "Promises, Promises" and the first single, "Adolescents." But the winding, trippy outro of the lengthy suite-like song "In the Company of Wolves" gives guitarist Mike Einziger some room to stretch out. Einziger's music studies at Harvard University, in fact, inform much of the album's compositional sweep, which nicely synchs with Boyd's poetic and philosophical lyrical muse about love and possibilities-and their consequences. It's a worthwhile reinvention, but a little more noise wouldn't have hurt, either.

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