Convertibles, the debut solo album from Chuck Inglish, is a sonically ambitious affair, mixing Inglish’s laid back lyricism with infectious party vibes. The album, co-produced by Mike Einzinger—the guitarist from Incubus for all you who got down with Morning View—is an eclectic array of songs, making for an interesting, if not cohesive, listen.
Bringing Einzinger on board was clearly an attempt by Inglish to add some new layers and depth to his music. The album offers a more nuanced and mature sound than his work with The Cool Kids, while the content covers fairly familiar terrain for Inglish. Never known for his technicality in his rhymes, Inglish does a good enough job of weaving a thread through these 13 tracks, making plenty of room for guests to come on board and do their thing. Action Bronson obviously steals “Gametime”—“Lamb chops…garlic…herbs”—and Chance comes through with a killer verse on album closer “Glam.” Also, that saxophone solo is money.
And that’s the thing. Convertibles, more than anything, finds Inglish exploring new territory, weaving between genres pretty effortlessly. He brings the funk on tracks like “Legs” and “Glam,” while nodding to more old-school hip-hop vibes on “Gametime” and “Money Clip”; the token posse cut. “Elevators” and “Swervin”—which features his Cool Kid buddy Sir Michael Rocks—are a callback to his earlier style, which he pulls off with ease.
Perhaps the most interesting moment on the album is “Ingles (Mas O Menos),” a track that clearly draws from early 1980s Chicago acid house. The pounding, filtered drums and menacing synth line are straight Phuture (a Chicago-based acid house group), and Inglish provides a seemingly obligatory hook about twerking to bring it back into the 21st century. In the context of the album, the song selection seems pretty jarring, but it’s good that Inglish is taking risks like this.
The “Cool Kids” had a very distinct sound and it would have been easy for Inglish to retread his past. While he clearly still draws from what got him here, it’s good seeing him reaching for a new sound, not wanting to be boxed into a particular style. The album, while slightly unfocused, does have its moments, and Inglish in particular, has revealed himself to be an artist to keep an eye on going forward.—Michael O’Donnell