The average person has very limited experience with Incubus. In 2000, their single “Drive” peaked at number nine on the Billboard charts. The mostly acoustic track mixed the tenderness of the Goo Goo Dolls with the post-grunge styling of pick-of-the-week bands like Hoobastank. The instant hit was not exactly indicative of Incubus’ sound and the band was never able to duplicate its success. Over a decade later, the band is not dead yet and still releasing albums. Their seventh studio album is If Not Now, When?
Incubus’ original sound was a combination of funk, jazz, and metal but after their success in the acoustic alt-rock stratosphere their sound significantly changed on future albums. By the time we now arrive at If Not Now, When?, their sound is almost completely unrecognizable to what it was on early albums like S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
If Not Now, When? is the mellowest alt-rock imaginable. The album’s second single “Promises, Promises” is a piano ballad that is befitting a band like Train. It is just bland, adult contemporary. The album’s lead single, “Adolescents” is one of the only tracks with a glimmer of life. The song uses most electric instruments and has a post-grunge feel to it. Unfortunately, the track is buried on the album as the second to last track making me think that it was written specifically to be a single and not part of the album.
The album as a whole just seems lifeless. Incubus is at the point in their career where they are ghosts of their former selves. The songs on If Not Now, When? sound like a band trying to score a cheap hit not a band playing music for the joy of it.