Mandatory Music: Brandon Boyd’s ‘Dark and Horny’ Solo Album ‘Echoes and Cocoons’ Out Today (Hear It Here First)

Brandon Boyd has always kept a low profile in the celebrity sphere, preferring the moonlight to the spotlight, but something about his pandemic lifestyle has unleashed a newfound sound in him.

In the past two years alone, he’s released new music Incubus, guested on an AWOLNATION track, and started his own art collective, Moonlight Arts Collective, which just launched its first series of affordable, high-quality prints with other famous creatives. But if that wasn’t enough for you, today marks the release of new, thid solo album Echoes and Cocoons.

And much like the times we’re living in, he’s gone as far to describe it as dark and horny. What could be better?

Thanks to a sonic introduction by his girlfriend, actress and former professional ballerina Sarah Hay, Boyd teamed up with producer John Congleton, known for his Grammy-winning work with St. Vincent, Sigur Ros and many other eclectic artists. Together, the duo crafted a remote yet powerful and pulsing record that carries its energy from start to finish. With swaggering drums and towering synths setting the stage, Boyd’s meandering melodies coalesce into soft hooks about a dark void gathering, not so much a silent empty space, but a screaming vortex swirling on the horizon.

The album’s first single, “Pocket Knife,” is a dream-inspired dance on how to escape the nightmarish potential of our dreamscapes, which seems to have doubled with dual purpose in our waking day-mares of today. The video, directed by Daniel Prakopcyk is a bohemian yurt dance brought to the dreamy canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Opening dinger, “Dime in My Dryer” idiosyncratically clatters into existence, building from stark beginnings toward a warm odyssey into outer space. The trajectory of the record holds firm, balancing grooves reminiscent of Gorillaz with fallen god chorale layers, warping in and out of dissonance both uplifting and eery.

But things get truly dread-inspired in the most melodic of ways on “Better Universe,” a love letter to a certain someone the world might be better off without (as he dances on their grave) and “More Better,” a swipe at how the Information Age is listening more closely to our inner desires than we are.

With fear awakened, the record crescendoes into a wave of terror on “New Dark Age,” an all-hands-on-deck nightmare opus that shares an alarm-bell kinship with the best cuts off NIN’s The FragileOnce the panic subsides, a soft surrender takes hold with a trio of gorgeous tracks that sonically and emotionally shift us toward the conclusive epiphany. The album closes with a cover of the lesser-known classic by Aphrodite’s Child, “End of the World,” a juicy-sounding invitation to sneak away and join Boyd at the precipice of existence.

Whether that secret place turns out to be a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean or an actual end times drive-in, Boyd makes his intentions clear: If Apocalypse is the soup du jour, the native Californian would rather choose a horny embrace of things to come over, huddling in a corner with eyes closed and nothing on but a smile.

And, we’re sold!

Echoes and Cocoons is available now wherever it is you stream music. You can preorder the vinyl here.

Cover Photo: Brian Bowen Smith