It’s been seven very long years since Koo Chung went silent, but the soulful popster is back with a brand new, crowdfunded album, Brick by Brick.
Not only is this record a long overdue return for fans, it is also a self-deprecating explanation for Chung’s absence from music - spurred initially by a devastating fire in which the New Yorker lost all of his gear and instruments. I stopped ‘cause a fire burned down all my dreams, he croons in ‘Stop’. But while the songs do reflect painfully on Chung’s state of mind in recent years, they do so with the lyrical humility and down-to-earth honesty we’ve come to expect from Koo’s music over the years. From domestic turmoil to inner heartbreak and triumphant return, the album is dominated by soaring pop melodies and passionate acoustics that truly ring with Koo’s return like a phoenix from the ashes.
In addition to a number of new songs, Koo revisits an old favorite, ‘Better Be You’, this time with a revamped intro and full instrumentation delivered alongside fellow singer/songwriter Jason Min. Driving electric guitars tap into the songwriter’s recently rediscovered passion and the quirks of Koo’s vocals are allowed to flourish, offering a newfound mature ring and honesty to his voice.
Collaborators include Chung’s wife, songstress Jinny Kim, referenced in several songs on the album about a difficult time the couple endured during Koo’s absence from music. Singer/songwriter Mike Schmid, Koo’s longtime friend and tour mate, co-produced the record with Koo, Joe Chai of Miss Vintage plays electric guitar and former label-mate Minnow Park also provides backing vocals.
- Megan Eaves Egenes [Lonely Planet]