While Korn and Deftones have retained much of the sonic weight and intensity of their earlier definitive works, fellow SoCalfusioneers Incubus hit the mellow button pretty fast as their quest for a more ‘mature’ direction sent them into far quieter waters.
If you wanted proof of just how much excitement has been traded in for the chillzone since the hyperactive heydays of 1997’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and ‘99’s Make Yourself, then you need look no further than Brandon Boyd’s own solo Wild Trapeze project from last year – a largely acoustic outing, low on both wildness and trapeze activity.
So perhaps it’s less surprising that in the five years since their last full-length, the patchy Light Grenades, Incubus haven’t been overly concerned with rediscovering fifth gear. If you love carefully crafted, folkish ballads, then much of If Not... will be your summer soundtrack.
There’s no denying the power of Boyd’s voice, soaring skywards on the sparse, beautiful Defiance, but as the groovy Switchblade reminds you that Incubus can still get in touch with their fun, funky side, you wish they’d do it a little more often.