With their first new music released in three years, Incubus has returned with an expansive EP called Trust Fall (Side B). Much like their last release, 8, the music presented on this EP tackle a wide range of emotions and styles. What I have always appreciated about this band is that they never make the same record twice, and they continue to push the boundaries of their expectations on what their music is and can be. This record is no exception to this rule, as Incubus continues to cover new ground on this collection of songs.
“Karma, Come Back” kicks off this record with some spacey, down-tuned guitars to reintroduce themselves to their audience. The track brings the stylistic choices back to the origins of the band, with some funk-inspired beats, and allows for lead vocalist Brandon Boyd to tell a story over the musical landscape set forth. Guitarist Mike Einziger is this song’s MVP, of sorts, as he continues to find interesting ways to keep the song moving.
“Our Love” was the first single released from the EP, and for a good reason, it’s one of the most influential moments on the EP and features some great pop-guitar elements to it. It’s one of the more straightforward pop-rock moments in Incubus’s career and continues to show their adaptability to multiple ways of conveying their brand of rock in new ways. The lyrics on the bridge of, “Is anybody ever really awake? / Just beneath the skin / Always reminded / You can only live so long as a fake / Time is wearing thin / Let our love begin,” really struck a chord with me.
The real standout on the EP, however, is the third song, “Into the Summer.” It features some great Prince-esque, 80’s styled rock guitars, with some great starts and stops in the verses that allow Boyd to soar into the chorus. In the second verse, Boyd describes his feelings of doubt in a relationship as he sings, “Love is like a coiling vine / It breaks through the cracks in my wall / The fruits of the “we” distilled / Until you stepped over the line.” By turning back the clocks stylistically on this track, Incubus allows for plenty of time to reinvent themselves as artists once again with grace and beauty.
“On Without Me” is a blast of funkadelic rock and roll in the build-up verses, with some great alternative swagger in the chorus. Einziger and drummer Jose Pasillas play off of each other’s strengths in a majestically well-timed fashion as they continue to hone in on their undeniable chemistry as musicians. Boyd’s soaring vocals in the chorus further complement what the rest of the band is doing, and make for another memorable track in their discography.
The album closer, “Paper Cuts,” is composed around a piano which, to my recollection, the band hasn’t done much of, if at all. The power of Boyd’s voice over the piano still makes for a standout moment in the EP and closes out the record with some solid reflection.
While there are no glaring weaknesses on this EP, I couldn’t help but feel like there was a feeling of being unfulfilled on this record. The songs do plenty of experimentation along the way and cover a lot of new ground. As the title insinuates, this is just a piece of the puzzle in the Trust Fall series, and it may not all become clear of the overall direction of this EP series until the last part comes into focus. Either way, the longingness of wanting more from the band is a good sign, and Incubus have shown plenty of new ideas to work with as they move forward in their careers.