Seizing their extended half-decade hiatus as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, Incubus
dive headfirst into a comfortable middle age on their seventh album, If Not Now, When?
This is no crisis, this is deliberate: with the assistance of producer Brendan O’Brien
, they’ve turned down the guitars and ratcheted up the synthesizers, trading roiling angst for occasional spells of moodiness, deciding to settle into a warm, textured adult pop that occasionally recalls nothing so much as Neil Finn
at his spaciest. Incubus
aren’t completely ready to become an AAA act -- they’re spry enough to sound convincing on the clatter of “Switchblade,” the guitars don’t soothe so much as evoke desolate landscapes, vocalist Brandon Boyd
still favors some unsettling lyrical imagery -- but the end result is an album on a shaded, comfortable grayscale, music that’s suitably mature yet sidesteps stultifying notions of middlebrow class.