Incubus takes their sweet time. It took the band two albums and three indie releases to make an impact and they’re still in the process of making their crossover complete. Incubus’s third major label release, Morning View, takes its time as well; it’s not until four tracks in that the band takes an ambitious leap (“Just a Phase,” a near-epic amalgam of sweeping strings, acoustic riffs and effects). Each individual track, in fact, patiently preps for singer Brandon Boyd’s distinctive yet timeless voice. And when it finally comes, he has lots to say: “Call it ‘women’s intuition’ but I think I’m on to something here/Temporaryism has been the Black Plague and the Jesus of our age.” Much of Morning View (“Nice to Know You,” “Wish You Were Here”) echoes Incubus’s now-recognizable mix of acoustic and electric elements with subtle hip-hop and electronic sounds, but make no mistake—this is no Limp Bizkit.
Many tracks find the band at their most dynamic. “Are You In?” is at once spacey and focused while “Warning” finds Boyd’s vocals inflected with Alanis-like phraseology: “Those left standing/Will make millions/Writing books on the way it should have been.” But Boyd’s lyrics aren’t always as tight as his band’s instrumentation. Aside from flashes of intellectual brilliance (references to Uri Geller and Jacques Cousteau abound), Boyd is sometimes too verbose for his own good: “Seeing you disappear in my rearview/Brought to me the word ‘reciprocity’.” Morning View is best at its most simple; the radiant and subtle “Echo” is next year’s “Drive” (from 1999’s Make Yourself). Likewise, the nü metal-meets-Crouching Tiger finale, “Aqueous Transmission,” simply flows with a Middle Eastern vibe of sanctity. Its uncomplicated metaphors balance what could have been a gross display of rock pretension. All hail the new kings of rock.