CD Review – Incubus “A Crow Left of the Murder”

A Crow Left of the Murder

It feels like almost everyone these days has an animosity toward current U.S. government officials, and Incubus is no exception. Not everyone, however, can fuse this polemic angst into radio-friendly hits.

The first single off A Crow Left of the Murder, “Megalomaniac,” is titled after a term used to describe a person with delusions of grandiose power and authority.

Does this ring any political bells? If not, the accompanying video will help you out. It includes a man in power with large ears and squinty eyes.

Even since the early days of S.C.I.E.N.C.E., singer Brandon Boyd’s lyrics have been socio-politically charged.

Unlike many artists, however, he includes just the right amount of subtlety to swing past the currently ridiculous FCC rules (although not enough to keep “Megalomaniac” on prime-time MTV).

Even the album title is subtle; so much so that you are likely not to understand it at all. Here’s a hint: To “crow” means to boast over the distress of another.

“Megalomaniac” is not the only track with political overtones. In “Agoraphobia,” Boyd sings about wanting to “stay inside for good” after reading the news and how it’s “just another day in the life of apes with ego trips.”

On “Pistola” Boyd talks about his pen as a pistol and “a patriot’s weapon of choice.” In “Made for TV Movie,” he sings “I’m trying to focus/ But my eyes deceive me/ Focus/ I’m witnessing history repeating.”

With Boyd taking full advantage of his vocal range on this album, it’s not easy to decipher just what is being said, which contributes not only to the album’s subtlety but also to its catchy hooks. For the most part, ACLOTM remains radio-friendly — enough so to lure in liberal sophisticates as well as teeny-bopping 13-year-olds who swoon over Boyd’s luscious locks.

Although the band maintained a mainstream sound, ACLOTM has a less nu-metal sound than Morning View and a lot more funk.

The band has replaced its previous bass player on this album, which may explain the change in style.

The guitar riffs in “Leech” and “Zee Deveel,” and the instrumental breaks in “Priceless” and “Sick Sad Little World” are reminiscent of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. For old school Incubus fans this is a sign of relief, especially in the age of corporate sell-outs and moneymaking mongrels.

And no Incubus album is complete without ballads. With the exception of the line “I understand why they say high school never ends,” the songs are less hokey than previous albums.

The track “Southern Girl” sounds most typical of Incubus love songs and is one of only three slow paced tracks on the album.

After being part of last year’s Lollapalooza and shooting off their own U.S. tour in June, Incubus does not seem to be slowing down soon. ACLOMT is a step forward in the musical evolution of Incubus.