Some alternative rock fans might not want to hear it, but Brandon Boyd and his still wildly popular band Incubus very covertly took over a spot occupied by Pearl Jam and Radiohead for many people during the 2000s: that of the brainy hard rock band who evolved with each release to unpredictable but eager anticipation. Now that his new project, Sons of the Sea (with legendary producer Brendan O'Brien), is due for its first full-length later this year, maybe it's time to try and convert skeptics.
Boyd has had an admittedly inconsistent, often surprising catalog of hits and weirdo experiments -- the eight-minute koto and flute exploration "Aqueous Transmission" was a big-time high. Haunting piano ballad "Here in My Room", from 2004, might've foreshadowed the Sons of the Sea sound ages ago, but there's also the Phil Collins-esque "If Not Now, When?" and the Chinese scale-bends of 1999 love ballad "Stellar." Old tunes like "Version" and "Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)" had alt radio's most credible funk since Anthony Kiedis' upside-down raps. And 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is an honest-to-goodness classic, an innovative funk-metal touchstone perfect for re-evaluation. "Glass," "New Skin," the political stroke "Favorite Things" ("Too bad/ The things that make you mad/ Are my favorite things") and "Certain Shade of Green" have all the frenetic weirdness of what nu metal should've been, without the ugly misogyny or laborious chugging.