What do you get when you mix the talents of a producer known for his work with Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine and Bruce Springsteen amongst so many others, and the main brain behind Incubus?
I'll tell you what you get, you get an Alternative Rock album which mixes light and dark and offers up something sounding modern and contemporary. Brendan O'Brien has collaborated with Brandon Boyd on what is a beautiful collection of songs.
When this was first presented to me, I figured it would be some sort of self-indulgent side-project that wasn't going to be worthy of my ears, but that opening thought proved to be very unjust and ignorant. (I head to the corner of the room and hang my head in shame!)
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If you do go ahead and check this album out, look for the version which tucks three acoustic versions on the end. 'Space And Time', 'Come Together' and 'Lady Black' are all given such treatment which only goes to showcase that despite the studio trickery and lavish-sounding production values on this album and the original versions, they can still stand proud as songs in their own right without losing any of their personality.
The music itself conjures up images of sparkling stars in a clear dark night sky. We're not talking about guitar-prominent pieces of music or even fairly upbeat rocking moments either, just well crafted songs that embrace modern sounds and arrangements. I recall hearing an album by Smash Mouth and feeling they had taken stock of their pop sensibilities too much, although it was still a good album.
Perfect for a summer day when the sun was shining and you felt your mood was dwelling in a happy place. That exact sentiment applies to this self-titled debut album.
'Untethered' floats down to the ground like a feather on a still day zigzagging through the air with the most subtle of industrial influences appearing right at the tail end. 'Where All The Songs Come From' is another fine swaying breezy example of what these two can create.
One surprise that is worthy of sharing concerns their cover version of a Leonard Cohen classic nugget called 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye'. The main vocal melody is still evident, although it's hard to focus on as the modern instrumentation blossoming around it is rich in texture.
Don't enter the listening experience thinking that you'll be hearing some sort of oddball rendition of Incubus, you will instead be witnessing an artist who enjoys stretching his abilities and exploring new horizons where he can express emotive outpourings that flow like water through a canyon.
Boyd and O'Brien have both nurtured a collection of elegant tracks which won't do much for the Metal fraternity as a whole, but for those who enjoy some light relief from the heavier moments from the Universe of Rock will appreciate the soothing touch that it offers.
Jet Black Crow
Space And Time
Where All The Songs Come From
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Space And Time [Acoustic]
Come Together [Acoustic]
Lady Black [Acoustic]