As a longtime Incubus junkie, it is with great displeasure that I admit Morning View, though introspective and chock-full of musical surprises, is far from a stellar achievement, especially for a band that once barely set foot onstage before inciting full-force rioting.
With this album, the Calabasas natives are no longer slumming shitty venues to be heard. Amidst newfound fame and fortune, it seems that writing and recording at a Malibu palace has significantly quelled their once passionate angst. Now, their music brings forth images of hard-bodied wave surfers more than those of hard-fisted crowd surfers.
The release of the mushy-gushy single “Wish You Were Here” became an ominous harbinger of the kinder, fuzzier Incubus to come. Without skipping a beat, that’s just what Morning View delivers – into the waiting palms of pre-teen girls everywhere. Slow, acoustic ballads like “11 am” and “Mexico” are soothing to the ears, but leave me yearning for the Incubus I once knew, loved and head-banged to.
The semi-charged “Have You Ever” and “Under My Umbrella” remind me of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. but lack the diaphragm-thrusting belts and off-beat experimentalism that once wooed me. Rather than allow each member to shine at their craft, the record spotlights pheromone-exuding beacon Brandon Boyd’s vocals and simply tailors each song around him – an effort that sadly fails to satisfy even the most desperate addict.
Yes, Brandon, you are a towering heartthrob amid booty-obsessed playa-pimps, but do we really need this saccharin-coated love goo?
[Jessica Jardine wishes she weren’t cursed with chronic long-windedness as a child]