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Break worked to Incubus' benefit

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Incubus took an uncharacteristic five years between albums before releasing this year’s “If Not Now, When?”

But frontman Brandon Boyd says the break was necessary.

“Incubus has exceeded so many of our goals and expectations,” Boyd, 35, says of the California group, which has sold more than 13 million albums worldwide and notched five No. 1 Alternative Rock chart hits in its 20 years together. “We never expected this to grow into a full-fledged career with longevity and prosperity and all those things.

“So there was a lot of need for us to take this break and get some, like, emotional space from this crazy beast that we’d created. We basically felt like we had arrived at a place where we could take some time away from it.”

The group and its members was hardly idle during the break. Incubus did release a compilation, “Monuments and Melodies,” in 2009. Boyd recorded a solo album (2010’s “The Wild Trapeze”), exhibited his visual art and attended design school in Los Angeles. Guitarist Mike Einziger studied music at Harvard, and bassist Ben Kenney released two solo albums.

Boyd and company never worried about whether they’d come back together to record again; “There wasn’t even a shadow of a doubt about that,” the singer says. But as they reconvened with producer Brendan O’Brien to make “If Not Now, When?” — which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart last month — Incubus’ members also knew they’d be making a very different album, which is borne out by it more subtle, textured and ambient sound.

“We started writing songs, and within four weeks (Einziger) and I both started saying, ‘This is nothing like we’ve done before,” Boyd recalls. “Everything was slower and a lot more lush and rich and expansive. We were both excited by it. It was a little scary, too.

“So we kept hammering in these mantras into each other, like space, restraint, gracefulness ... and allow the decisions we were making as musicians and lyricists and singers to employ those kind of mantras. That’s what you’re really hearing on the record.”

Incubus and Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $52.50 pavilion, $20 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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