Review

INCUBUS (CA) S.C.I.E.N.C.E.

Album · 1997 · Funk Metal
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5/5 ·
Unitron
While Incubus gained a huge surge of popularity with the release of their 1999 album, Make Yourself, the band already had two EP's and two studio albums under their belt before they reached alternative rock stardom. However, if you're getting into these early releases from the band, don't expect it to sound anything like what the band is mostly known for. This is eclectic funk metal at it's finest.

Along with the equally amazing Enjoy Incubus EP from the same year, S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is, simply put, an explosion of creativity. For starters, there's an incredibly wide range of styles here. It ranges from many styles of metal, funk, hip-hop, lounge, and even a bit of trip-hop. All of these styles are blended seamlessly, always sounding like they naturally belong together. Each song stands out perfectly on its own, even if it's just with a little unique embellishment. An example of this is the slight middle-eastern influences on the opening track "Redefine".

Each musician is in absolute top form, delivering one of the best albums of the 90's. Brandon Boyd gives one of his best vocal performances on this album, especially on "Glass", "Nebula", "Deep Inside", and "Calgone". Dirk Lance earns his place among the bass gods on this album, and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is one of the best bass albums out there. Listen to any song on the album, and you'll get some of the tastiest and funkiest bass licks available. "Glass" of course has some of the best, as does the smooth "Deep Inside". Jose Pasillas II absolutely slays on drums, displaying insane amounts of syncopation. Mike Einziger is a riff making machine, even bringing in some hooks that edge pretty close to thrash on songs like "Favorite Things" and "Calgone". Finally last, but not least, is Gavin Koppell. While some may find the turntables annoying, his electronic embellishments and turntables add a lot to the uniqueness of the album.

It's almost impossible to pick highlights due to how the album has a perfect flow and every song could be called a highlight. What I can say, is that "Glass" is probably my favorite Incubus song. "Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)" is probably the song that stands out the most in style, as it takes a break from the metal, taking on a lounge-funk sound that is catchy as hell. "New Skin", which was originally seen on the Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout Root Beer EP from 1995, is incredibly catchy as well. The only slightly weaker moment on the album is "Magic Medicine", but even that song works within context of the whole album.

The lyrics and even the title showcase the same boom of creativity. At first the lyrics seem absurdist, after all, what else would you expect from and album title that's an acronym for Sailing Catamarans Is Every Nautical Captain's Ecstasy? However, once you look into them more, some of them can be interpreted as clever metaphors. Going back to the opening track of "Redefine", there's lyrics such as "Imagine your brain as a canister filled with ink", which don't make much sense until lines like "I'm sick of painting in black and white" come in. Even if the lyrics don't make any sense, you will still find yourself singing along anyways. Best examples for me are "Glass" and "A Certain Shade of Green". "Deep Inside" very well may have one of the greatest lines in music history, with "I know exactly where we are...the fuck are we?".

This is an album that takes multiple listens to fully sink in, and I'm still noticing different things every time I listen. Once it does sink in, this is one of the best and most eclectic funk metal albums. While Incubus would make a couple more fantastic albums later, this is a one-of-a-kind that should be essential listening for any bass and funk fan. One of my all time favorite albums. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
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