Incubus' fourth studio album came out in a weird time for music. It was late 2001, the 90s still lingered like a hangover. Rock was enjoying a bizarre mainstream resurgence in the form of nu-metal, The Strokes were still relative unknowns from Brooklyn, and nothing good had come out of the United Kingdom for almost ten years. Incubus had been perhaps unfairly lumped into the nu-metal camp, a sure sign of the lazy music journalism at the time, and it was only when Morning View was released, did everyone see that there was actually more to Incubus than just the scratching of turntables combined with driving guitars.
The band decided to leave the usual recording studio setup and instead moved into a beachside property in Malibu, on Morning View Drive, not far from where they all grew up in Calabasas. The result was to be the most successful album Incubus were to put out, going double-platinum. To commemorate two decades since the release, the band went back to where it all started to perform the album live from the Morning View Drive house itself.
After the incredible success of Make Yourself two years prior, Incubus found themselves at the height of their popularity, on both sides of the pond, and pressure was mounting for an equally good album. The fanbase had already started to fracture into two; those who preferred the harder hitting S.C.I.E.N.C.E and Fungus Amongus sound, and those that preferred Make Yourself. The anticipation for which direction Brandon Boyd and co would go wouldn't be so straight forward. The opening track, Nice to Know You, had all the hallmarks of their earlier, heavier sound, but was expertly countered by the likes of Mexico, Echo and 11am; stripped down and as about as chilled as the setting it was recorded in.
Blood on the Ground and Under My Umbrella hit just as hard as the likes of A Certain Shade of Green or any from Fungus Amongus, and then comes the track closer; Aqueous Transmission. Clocking in at nearly eight minutes, it serves to showcase the maturity of the band, and their confidence in pushing themselves in exploring new sounds and instruments. Mike Einziger drops his guitar and picks up the Chinese pipa, a gift from Steve Vai, with a Japanese orchestra accompanying.
Twenty years on and Morning View remains one of Incubus' finest albums, one that still holds up today.