Chromeo ChromeoBusiness Casual
This electro-funk, so apparently comic, that Chromeo have been defending over the years should be taken as a real tribute (and not as a joke) to those care-free eighties during which the vocoders and keystars were there to let the people have a good time at the clubs –and at home and on the streets, with their radios– and forget about their problems. There’s nothing a bit of dancing can’t cure. The Canadian couple have established themselves as the most nerdy and romantic of the whole eighties revival –and consciously, too: just look at the eccentricities exhibited in their videos, partly because of which there are still people who don’t take them seriously; they are, in other words, a pair of crazy but likable fellows who, without feeling the need to sport shirts with frills and flowers, have made the wisdom of disco-funk of bands like Shalamar or The Whispers theirs, without forgetting the most modern parameters of French house –Philippe Zdar, half of Cassius, is who is at the helm of this album. During the last three years, ever since they released “Fancy Footwork”, Chromeo have been retired from the world in order to make “Business Casual”without pressure, a process only interrupted by their contribution to the “DJ Kicks” series and the participation in Yuksek’s debut with that top tune, “So Down”. But their modus operandi hasn’t changed: they will always have Hall & Oates on a pedestal and no-one will be able to change that ( “Don’t Turn The Light On” is still a mid-tempo tribute to the makers of “Maneater”).
Everything keeps going the way they have always done, and maybe that’s the only thing one could reproach them. There a few changes here, but they are songs that entertain, give us enough reasons to keep believing in them and they leave us once again with one or another possible anthem to dance to in some discotheque where they serve drinks at the price of a kidney. Like for example “Night By Night”, a disco mix of “Eye Of The Tiger” and the soundtrack to “Knightrider”, promoting sex as a solution to relational trouble. Or “Hot Mess”, robotic funk reminiscent of the times when Prince was still über cool. The seven minutes of “You Make It Rough”, on the other hand, does show something new: anxiety to use more instruments, most of them completely new to the Chromeo sound. They look in the paranoid mirror of Talking Heads: Dave 1 and P-Thugg shy away from the extravagance and sexual insinuations (for the first time we hear a drum solo), remembering the kitschiest Giorgio Moroder, but it could also be reminiscent of Tiga, their mentor when they signed for Turbo years ago.
“J’ai Claqué La Porte” is also a fine piece of work, a track that could have been an outtake of Sébastien Tellier’s “Sexuality”, irresistible in its brilliant simplicity and that, along with “The Right Type” –a tune that, had it not been for its “Xanadu” guitar solo, could have perfectly been a bonus track on Goldfrapp’s “Head First”– makes this “Business Casual” get up and move again in its final moment. Which can’t be said about “When The Night Falls”, a song on which the lesser talented sister of the Knowles family, Solange, tries to emulate Whitney Houston (the pre-all kinds of trouble Whitney, of course) without convincing (the girl has a big handicap: to be the sister of Beyoncé is a pretty big obstacle when it comes to finding fans who take her seriously, although there are still some guilty pleasures like “I Decided. Pt.2”). That said, Chromeo’s third studio effort delivers the goods as is, a hedonist revival product. It’s monotonous and repetitive and that’s why the grade is what it is, but those who thoroughly enjoyed “She’s In Control” and still drool when remembering those nightly melodies will definitely enjoy it. Sergio del Amo