But then much of the album is infuriatingly stereotypical of post-rock. There's the basis for a good band here but they rely too much on what's gone before rather than really pushing the genre forward; it all feels a little lazy. Glad you enjoy it though!
Perhaps "spew forth" wasn't entirely neutral, but that was more related to the lyrical misnomers Boyd is somewhat prone to making. This album does not sound like Incubus and anyone expecting any rock elements or fragments of their past will be sorely disappointed; as a band, they've changed from album to album but this one does away with the majority of the elements that made them interesting. Sure, it "draws from all over the place" but that doesn't make it a good album and, ultimately, it sounds like a mediocre, by-the-numbers pop record (mediocre being the negative term here); whether the structures have changed or not, it's lacking that rock energy which made Incubus who they were. My initial comparisons were to The Script and The Fray, while other reviews have likened it to Coldplay and U2, which accurately encompass the album's indistinct sound.
I think it is quite reasonable to have expected some dynamic contrast within the songs on this album, whether distorted or not. Every album so far has felt like a logical progression but If Not Now, When? sounds like a different, far less competent, band.
Ultimately, if you sign up to a site simply to comment on one review I can only draw the conclusion that you will defend this album to the death. I have made my points, you have made yours and thus the overruling feeling about If Not Now, When? has been made apparent: it is divisive, best indicated by the Metacritic ratings available at http://www.metacritic.com/music/if-not-now-when.
At no point was this album victimised for being a pop record and, despite the change in song structures, Brandon Boyd consistently spews forth pop melodies and pop sensibilities over almost insultingly inoffensive guitar/piano meanderings. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly good pop record as there is little in the way of dynamics for much of the album. However, those last 4 tracks, as a separate EP, would have made for a pretty solid pop release.
In terms of those waiting for S.C.I.E.N.C.E. part two, I was simply trying to highlight the divisive nature of this album and the band as a whole. Personally, my favourite Incubus record is A Crow Left of the Murder but this latest effort simply cannot compare in any shape or form.
As for the 80s influences, I thought they were quite clear: the synth in "If Not Now, When?", echoes of Andy Summers in "Friends and Lovers", chorused bass tone in "The Original" and Prince-inspired bassline in "Switchblade". Mike Einziger has even said that "Isadore" was inspired by Phil Collins. Couple that with the fact that the band are huge Police fans and the 80s sound doesn't really come as much of a surprise. Incidentally, I would regard much of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' recent output as mediocre pop-rock so I understand the comparison there, although "In the Company of Wolves" is one of the album's better tracks.
Finally, I am quite familiar with the word "strophic". A level music, grade 5 theory and a distinction at grade 7 classical guitar familiarised me with the concept but, I admit, I hadn't thought to include it in a review before. Perhaps I will in the future. Thanks!
Even if they were a little random. Great article though.
8.5 would be more accurate. A couple of tweaks to the production and it would have easily been a 9.
Totally missed the boat on the contributors' list but my vote would have gone to Oceansize - Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up.