Monuments And Melodies

Written by: PP on 28/12/2009 01:45:55

For the first time since 2004, I've managed to clear my pending reviews list from all the promotional copies of records last year before the end of the year, less the bunch that just arrived a couple of days ago (fuck them for now), so I finally have some time to review records that I voluntarily decided to check out on the second half of the year. Seeing that I've been a fan of Incubus ever since they released "S.C.I.E.N.C.E", their greatest hits compilation "Monuments And Melodies" isn't the most logical starting point since I already own all their previous records, but it does come with a second disc full of rarities, unreleased tracks and b-sides, and big fans like I will surely want to check those out, so why not, right?

The first disc is the greatest hits section, featuring stellar megahits like "Warning", "Megalomaniac", "Drive", "Anna Molly", "Pardon Me", "Nice To Know You" and nine other awesome tracks. That the disc doesn't include tracks like "Circles", "Privilege", or "11am" speaks volumes about the songwriting depth of this band, because any band able to leave out such bombastic cuts needs to have a pretty fucking strong back catalogue to replace them. Had all of their best tracks been included here, the disc would've easily become unnecessarily long. As it stands now, listening through the disc is like taking a trip down the 90s and 2000s memory lane, where some of the very best alternative rock tracks ever recorded are on offer. Sadly, no tracks from "S.C.I.E.N.C.E" have been included but my guess is that the band has changed way too much since their otherwise excellent debut for the songs to make sense on this compilation. The old tracks are wrapped around two new ones, "Black Heart Inertia" and "Midnight Swim", which both uphold the Incubus standard. The latter in particular is like a perfect midpoint between "A Crow Left Of The Murder" and "Morning View", so it should go down like water on a desert for any Incubus fan.

The second disc is a collection of rarities, including B-sides, soundtrack cuts, alternate versions, three previously unreleased songs, and a cover of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy". The cover's pretty crappy to be frank, but the rest showcase why Incubus is one of the best alternative rock bands around, as most bands in the genre would dream of having some of these tracks on their record and these guys consider them as b-sides. "Neither Of Us Can See", for instance, is a very "Morning View"-esque track that was included in the soundtrack to the movie "Stealth" in 2005 together with "Admiration". "Anything" is a song from the "Morning View" sessions but didn't make it on the record, and while it makes sense that it wasn't included, it's still a very good track. The newer b-sides include "Look Alive" and "Punch Drunk" from the "Light Grenades" sessions, but here in particular you're left wondering why they weren't put on the actual album. They're really that good.

So should you get this disc? If you're not that familiar with Incubus just yet and you're interested to checking out some of their best songs, absolutely. You're not just getting two brand new tracks suggesting that the next Incubus album will be a great one, but also 13 megahits, AND a bunch of great b-sides and rarities that you can also enjoy. Even as a fan, the second disc will make your purchase worth it, even though a few songs do leave a little more to be desired. But in between "Light Grenades" and the eager wait for the rumoured 2010 album by the band, "Monuments And Melodies" is a value-for-money package you should consider purchasing.


Download: Midnight Swim, Look Alive, Neither Of Us Can See, Pardon Me
For the fans of: Foo Fighters, 311, Third Eye Blind, Smashing Pumpkins
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.06.2009
Epic Records

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