Album Review: A Crow Left of the Murder

After coming off of Llollapalooza 2003, multiplatinum-selling artists, Incubus returned to the studio, but it wasn’t located in California. “Well, we actually decided to do our record this time around, not in our comfort zones. We went to Atlanta, Georgia,” said Brandon Boyd (Lead Singer of Incubus). So, like usual, Incubus is attempting to be more creative with their music, especially Mike Einziger (Guitarist of Incubus). When talking about the melodies for this album, he says, “I just sort of became comfortable with what I’ve been playing for a long time and never really branched out, gear wise. Now, I’m back to spending all my playing with my pedals and trying different guitars.” You can easily tell their rhythms are different; the style is harder and bluesier. The crew enlisted Brendan O’Brien (worked with Soundgarden) to produce and mix the album. Five weeks after the project began, Incubus’s fifth studio album, “A Crow Left of the Murder” was done.

“A Crow Left of the Murder” was released to the public on February 3rd, 2004. It immediately landed at the #2 slot on the Billboard 200, selling 331,000 copies. The leadoff track is “Megalomaniac.”

“Megalomaniac” is (in addition to be Incubus’s hit song) defined as a pathological egotist. After hearing a beating, scratching, and annoying noise, the song starts to take shape with a steady guitar rhythm. Soon, the drums and bass come in, adding to the tune’s edge. Then, Boyd sings to a Megalomaniac or a “pathological egotist” that he or she isn’t placed on a high pedestal. Boyd even discredits the “egotist” by saying how he or she can’t compare to real influences like Jesus and Elvis. This track has gotten so popular that it landed in the #1 slot of the Billboard Modern Rock Charts.

Throughout “Pistola,” Boyd makes it appear that his physical demeanor isn’t violent, but his words could be. He compares his intention to a bullet, his body to a trigger finger, and his pen to a Pistola (or a Pistol with the letter “a” added on the end). Just like “Megalomaniac,” “Pistola” starts out with the same annoying, screeching beginning. Although the lyrics are right on the money, there is a bad scratching part and a lengthy guitar solo, which makes the song even longer and not worth listening to. The irony is that “Pistola” sounds like a horrible version of “Megalomaniac.”

By going from the West Coast to the East Coast, one has to assume that Incubus’s style is becoming more cross-cultural. After all, they wrote, “Southern Girl,” one of their mellowest tunes on the album. Boyd expresses his hormones in this song by convincing a “Southern Girl” to engage in sex, however, instead of coming out and saying it, he uses examples of Mother Nature to get his message across. He sings, “So come outside and walk with me, we’ll try each other on to see if we fit/And with our roots, become a tree, to shade what we make under it.” It doesn’t stop there either. Part of the chorus is, “We’ll behave like animals, swing from tree to tree/We can do anything, that turns you up and sets you free.” This sounds a little too kinky even for these beach-rockers. At least this is an alternative to having sex on the beach.

If you buy “A Crow Left of the Murder,” it may come with a bonus DVD. The bonus DVD features a few performances from Llollapalooza 2003 and the Bridge School Benefit. You’ll also be able to view the “While we were Out” documentary, which shows the making of Incubus’s album. Oh yea, you can also see a cheesy re-enactment of Boyd’s.

Whether you hear them talk about relationships and drugs in “Leech,” or shallow people like in the fast-paced “Priceless,” you’ll be guaranteed cool melodies, but maybe not the greatest arrangements. There is only one thing left to ponder. Can Incubus keep up their streak of multiplatinum albums?

Group: Incubus
Album: A Crow Left of Murder
Record Label: Epic
Stars: 3 out of 5

3 replies on “Album Review: A Crow Left of the Murder”

Great points about Einziger changing his guitar playing ability and effects and for sure it is present like Wish You Were Here is Completely Differently styled to Megalomaniac, great review man

Great review, dude. You can definitely hear the difference in sounds between Morning View and A Crow Left of the Murder. I think this album was a right step in the direction of Incubus, as they have strayed from that upbeat energy in S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and Make Yourself to something completely different in Morning View. Well, at any rate, everyone should give this album a listen. Quite diverse and a good listen.

terrible review. did you even listen to the album? thinking that a lengthy guitar solo makes a song not worth listening to, alone strips you of any credibility.

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