1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 237

S.C.I.E.N.C.E, by Incubus
Suggested by Craig Scott

In the mid-Nineties, I worked for Sony.

Specifically, I worked for Sony Psygnosis, a computer game development house based in Liverpool. I started as a Playstation Games Tester, graduating to Games Designer before the fickle finger of forced redundancy picked me and sixty-three of my colleagues. It was a fine career, but stories about games are for further reviews down the line. This one concerns perks.

Back then, one of the great perks of working for Sony was access to their music. Each calendar month, every employee was entitled to purchase up to ten CDs from the Sony catalogue, for the price of the tax alone, around two pounds per CD. From the freshest cuts to the most obscure classics, if it was on Sony’s books, you could buy it.

As perks go, it was pretty decent. I’d scour the list for bands I loved, and hoover up their works with gusto. If, after listing my legitimate wants, I hadn’t capped out at the requisite ten, I’d fill the gaps using the following criteria: If it had a silly name, I’d buy it.

Through that, I bought albums by Chicken Shack. By G Love and Special Sauce. And by Incubus.

When I first heard their EP Enjoy Incubus, I fell completely in love. Groovy funky metal with record scratching and scrubbing, with incredible vocals and a veneer of the bizarre? I mean, what’s not to love? The thirty-minute record became an exultant staple in my rotation.

When S.C.I.E.N.C.E arrived, I bought and enjoyed that too. But it never stuck with me like Enjoy Incubus. All I can recall now is the amusing Karate Kid interlude. I’ve not heard it for decades.

It takes mere minutes for me to ask myself why.

Incubus conjure Faith No More with their supreme vocal and hip hop leanings, as well as Primus, Mr Bungle, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and more. Basically, all my favourite bands. And S.C.I.E.N.C.E builds on Enjoy Incubus with style. It contains all the exciting elements of the earlier release, and tweaks their settings to extract even more dynamism from the mix. While there’s nothing on here that’s as strong as the incredible You Will Be A Hot Dancer, there’s a host of incendiary firecrackers that are sure to get your blood roiling. My standout is Summer Romance (Anti Gravity Love Song, but there’s the hard focking A Certain Shade of Green, the forboding guitar of Idiot Box, the pumping basslines of Vitamin and Redefine… choose your poison.

After S.C.I.E.N.C.E, Incubus achieved a modicum of mainstream success with great singles like Pardon Me and Drive, but like so many bands on this project, they faded from my focus and left the building. I’m thankful that the Randomiser has reminded me of their brilliance, and I’m certain that I won’t be letting the 8/10 S.C.I.E.N.C.E slip through my fingers again.

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