Incubus – Trust Fall (Side B) (2020)

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Through their albums, Make Yourself, Morning View and A Crow Left Of the Murder, I was quite a big fan of Incubus.  They wrote catchy songs that were infused with very accessible pop rock, but they could also lean in to a variety of styles – Nu Metal, hard rock, and quite often delivered songs that were thoroughly hypnotic.  I still listen to those albums often, but I never made the effort to listen to their newer music – not for any particular reason, mind you – I guess it boils down to being distracted by other things…

As a result, this latest EP snuck up on me.  I had no idea it was coming, and truth be told, I had no idea that the band had released three full length albums and the first part to this EP since I drifted away from them.  My bad.

Now, I’m not sure how the whole “side A” and “side B” elements of the Trust Fall EP work in context with each other, because I’m yet to listen to “side A”, but if it’s anywhere near as engaging as Trust Fall Side B, it will be fantastic – and I’ll be listening to it as soon as I finish writing.

This is an abundantly easy listen.  Five tracks, for a total run time of twenty minutes means that you can listen to the entire thing, front to back, on your average car trip.  Something I have done several times now.

Opening the EP with “Karma, Come Back”, we are treated to sounds that’s are echoing and a little dreamy.  There’s an almost sludgy riff beneath the surface of Brandon Boyd’s dreamy vocal, and some wonderfully understated rhythm.  The brilliance is when Mike Einziger’s riff becomes a fully fleshed out sludge fest.  The contrast between that immense riff and the gentle vocals and subtlety of the track make this a killer opener.

“Our Love” is infectious and completely enjoyable.  It’s a great example of that brand of catchy melodic rock that made Incubus stand out to me in the first place.  Two songs in, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this band is still completely relevant and interesting.

Continuing on through “Into the Summer”, this track features a very retro sounding disco meets pop meets rock vibe that was perfected by David Bowie.  This is a sound that works so so well for Incubus.  In all honesty, the track didn’t grab me at first, but upon further listening, it really took hold.  Boyd has an immaculate voice, and further shows off his range and ability here.  I would be very keen to hear more of this style from the band.  Little things such as the use of bird songs really add to the overall summer feel of the song.

Not that anything on this EP has been overly rock driven so far, but next track, “On Without Me” really takes things down a notch.  Musically, it has a lot going on in it, but it’s very much driven by the vocals.  Very mellow in parts, but rising and soaring when required.

Final track, “Paper Cuts”, is another stripped back affair.  With only Boyd’s emotive vocals and some excellent piano on display, this is actually a stunning highlight on a really strong collection of songs.

I definitely recommend checking out Trust Fall (Side B).  It is a great addition to the Incubus back catalogue, and could quite possibly find them some new fans along the way.

8/10

Shayne McGowan.

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