California rock band Incubus has returned with their fourth major label release, A Crow Left of the Murder. The last time we heard from Incubus was in 2001 when the band released Morningview, a softer, more melodic record that some hardcore fans were critical of. I had never been a big fan of Incubus’ music and I had never heard any of their full albums before a friend of mine gave me a copy of A Crow… At first I was unimpressed by the album, but after a few listens the album began to grow on me and it’s now safe to say that I’ve become a huge fan of the band.

A Crow Left of the Murder begins with the first single Megalomaniac. This track is reminiscent of the band’s harder sound from S.C.I.E.N.C.E., their debut album from the late 1990s. This is easily my favorite song on the album. No one in the band seems to be talking about what the song is about, but it’s clear that it’s about U.S. President George W. Bush and how he should “step down” as lead singer Brandon Boyd shouts throughout the song. The song is hard, fast and angry, but it’s hardly indicative of what’s to come on the rest of the album. By track 2, the band settles into a more melodic, softer sound, but it is hardly a bad thing. From track 2, A Crow Left of the Murder to track 7 Pistola, the band shows how talented it really is. Boyd’s vocals carry most of the songs and although he can sound a little gay at times, he shows that he is an extremely talented lead singer.

The band is also exceptional and one thing that adds to their sound and makes it more original is the fact that they use a DJ. Standout tracks include Agoraphobia, a song about being afraid to go outside, Sick Sad Little World, the longest song on the album and Talk Show on Mute, the album’s second single. I don’t have a bad word to say about any one of the first 7 songs as they are all great songs. Like most other albums, there are a couple of mediocre songs and while they aren’t awful, they certainly aren’t worth skipping ahead to. Examples include track 12, Smile Lines and the final song, Leech. It seems that the band mailed it in on these couple of songs and it would have been no huge losses if they had have been left off the album.

All in all, A Crow Left of the Murder is an excellent album. The band really surprised me with how versatile, original and talented they really are. The album shows that they are capable of rocking out with the guitars turned up but they can also write great lyrics and melodies. Out of the 14 tracks on the album, I’d say that at least 10 are better than decent songs. In a world where you’re lucky to get 3 good songs on an album, I’d say that that’s pretty damn good. If I had to pick my favorite album of the first half of 2004, this album would definitely be my favorite. If you’re looking for an awesome, eclectic rock album, then A Crow Left of the Murder is definitely worth checking out.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Megalomaniac
02. A Crow Left of the Murder
03. Agoraphobia
04. Talk Show on Mute
05. Beware! Criminal
06. Sick Sad Little World
07. Pistola
08. Southern Girl
09. Priceless
10. Zee Deveel
11. Made for TV Movie
12. Smile Lines
13. Here in My Room
14. Leech

Run Time: 59:01
Release Date: 2004