Sons Of The Sea – ‘Sons Of The Sea’ [Review]

sons-of-the-sea-album-cover-2Incubus are a rare breed. Whether we’re talking about their seven studio albums or each individual member’s own solo projects (my favourite of which has to be Time Lapse Consortium, an Einziger / Pasillas / Kenney collaboration), that band has never recorded a note I didn’t love.

Until recently, Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd has remained relatively quiet on the solo project front, preferring instead to focus upon a wide range of visual and literary art projects. The release of his debut solo album The Wild Trapeze, intended to slake his creative lust during an extended Incubus hiatus, changed all that. Now, Boyd returns with If Not Now, When? producer Brendan O’Brien and a brand new album created in collaboration with said legendary hitmaker.

This project – Sons of the Sea – is, predictably, brilliant.The only serious criticism I can level against this album is the length of time it took for Sons of the Sea to see an official UK release. UK Incubus / Boyd / O’Brien fans have been forced to make do with an all-too-brief appearance on Spotify, a handful of official videos, and the usual crap-quality (and illegal) YouTube upload of the album in full. Now, however, Sons of the Sea is finally available to buy and access legally – and it is absolutely worth the wait.

From a big picture perspective, Sons of the Sea isn’t groundbreaking – but it is nonetheless packed with beautifully uplifting and inspiring songs. Deep in every moment, Boyd’s excitement and love for his latest inspirations is genuinely palpable, leaving this listener unable to let go of memories left behind following the album’s close. Every hook sticks in the head, practically branded into the brain – and, for once, this experience is entirely pleasurable, blissful even. For me, the absolute best tracks offer heavy, dense vibes (Great Escape), cathartic lyricism (Untethered) and even string lines that evoke all of the best James Bond themes (Lady Black). Closing the album we find three acoustic rearrangements of Space and TimeCome Together, and Lady Black – each one thoughtfully crafted and wrapped in webs of subtle and intimate production. But if you asked me to pick a single standout moment at this point, this review would never be completed.

Overall, Sons of the Sea does what Boyd and his peers do best – provide enough accessibility for casual listeners and so much musical luxury that even the most exacting muso walks away satisfied, before scurrying desperately back for another fix…and another.

Pleasurable, engrossing, and addictive; if each and every drug that grips humanity today could be replaced by art like this, the world would be an infinitely happier place.


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Posted on 12 April 2014

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