Inch Chua is the name of a Singaporean singer and multi-instrumentalist who moved to the U.S. with bold intentions: make some good music. As it turns out, Singapore has a huge music scene filled with loads of musicians all out to do the same thing. Chua has been playing for years, constantly perfecting her art and trying to create a genuine sound that rivals the ever infamous idols of Japan and Korea –good news Chua, you’re doing just fine. Inch Chua’s latest album is called Bumfuzzle.
Considering Bumfuzzle is sold as an indie album that deserves an opening-act spot alongside bands like The Black Keys, I was surprised to find the album started with a vibe far closer to Hammerbox (and got far more groovy somewhere later). Don’t get me wrong, this is good. The first track, “Gaudi,” carries a slowed rhythm, soaring vocals, and grunge reminiscent guitar pieces. As the album transitions into it’s third song, “Quit You,” the mood becomes at the very least a bit more upbeat and the woman behind Bumfuzzle really begins to shine.
Inch Chua is synonymous with warm vocals, soul sucking melodies, and meaningful lyrics. “Quit You,” is, I feel, the real start of this album. Chua breaks from a slower pace and instead lets out a powerfully sung, “I can’t quit you, I can’t do without this vice. And I can’t quit you. Lord knows I’d try to quit you.” Although admittedly the song is repetitious, it’s a nice step in transitioning to the rest of the album. From here on out, things only get better. The fifth track, “Artful Dodger,” comes across as a true indie rock track. Inch Chua starts to get ballsy. The band is stronger, more energetic, and the entire song has an indescribable catchiness to it.
While I’m on the topic –the band itself is great. Rarely do they shine through, this isn’t some post-rock album, but a generous amount of instrumentation has made it’s way through in an album that seemingly centers around vocals. Bumfuzzle takes both a person’s and an instrument’s voices and blends them together perfectly well.
If Inch Chua’s latest album does anything best, it’s variety. It features a grungy start, a mid album indie breakthrough, and a finishing touch of bluesy goodness. Without calling this the most versatile album of 2013, it’s easily one of the most approachable albums.
Having gone into this one knowing virtually nothing about Singapore’s music scene, I was a bit nervous. Bumfuzzle is a serious joy to listen to though. The uniqueness of each track creates some serious replay value; Meanwhile, Inch Chua consistently produces rich tones and haunting melodies . The entire experience will leave you coming back for more.