Review: Chuck Inglish – Convertibles

The Cool Kids took an age to release their debut album When Fish Ride Bicycles and Chuck Inglish has followed suit by taking his time in releasing Convertibles, his first solo release bestowed with the title of album over mixtape. It proves to be worth the wait, amounting to a strong showing for a debut, even from someone who’s been in the game since ‘07.

A few strange guys lurk in the background of Convertibles. The album is released on an offshoot of Federal Prism Records which is owned by TV on The Radio guitarist/producer Dave Sitek and the whole album was co-produced by Mike Einziger. Einziger might not be a familiar name, but as the guitarist of Incubus and the guy behind the guitar part of Avicii’s Wake Me Up, he certainly knows a fair amount about the good and evil spheres of the music world.

A few of the songs on Convertibles have been released at some point in the recent past yet the album still manages to retain a consistency between the older and newer tracks.

Swervin’, featuring the other half of The Cool Kids – Sir Michael Rocks – was released last summer, Came Thru/Easily with Mac Miller and Ab-Soul was released in October and Legs featuring Chromeo came out a few months back. These three tracks are the highlights of the album with feature spots that compliment Chuck’s accomplished and unique production.

Chuck isn’t the most impressive of MC’s but his production is unlike anything else in 2014’s era of trap and EDM influenced hip-hop. Album opener Elevators could be a cut from the latest Arctic Monkeys release with the skittish drums and chorused guitar and bass, the Sheffield connection is dragged away when Chuck jumps on the track. Stylistically, the album has old school elements but is grounded in 2014 with the voices involved. When supported with unique artists like Chance The Rapper and Action Bronson, Chuck’s production shines as well as his rapping ability, but there’s noticeably some filler towards the back end of the album with songs like Prism, Hurt You Back and Dreamy being largely forgettable.

Convertibles is a solid if unspectacular release. It’s a shame that the best tracks were all released before the whole album was delivered as the newer material struggles to stand up on its own merit, with some of the feature spots feeling like an afterthought, but when they’re good (Chance The Rapper and Action Bronson) they’re very good. Chuck Inglish hasn’t rewritten the rulebook with Convertibles but the album isn’t supposed to be a game changer – it’s a fun and laid back hip-hop album that is fun and laid back. Objective achieved.

Words: Joni Roome

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