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20 May, 2014@10:09 pm

When Chromeo debuted ten years ago with their album She’s In Control, the industry kind of looked at it as sort of a fun, one-off, novelty record. Nothing to take too seriously, just a throwback to the innocence of the 70′s and 80′s, that was heavy on synths, vocoders and layered with extra cheese. It was almost looked at the same way a similar themed project from the very era they were harking back to, 1989′s debut from Arsenio Hall’s “Chunky A” alias, Large & In Charge. We all loved the record, but surely we didn’t expect Chromeo to be around one decade later.

If you hadn’t figured it out by now, Chromeo are dead serious, and have carved out a niche for themselves way beyond that of a novelty act. They called back to the funky sounds of contemporary R&B and blue-eyed soul before Daft Punk did it on Random Access Memories, and preceded the stateside EDM boom by having names like Laidback Luke, MSTRKRFT, and Crookers remix their tracks, way back in 2007. In terms of trendsetting, they truly have proven to be omnitemporal, making the uncool cool again, and what’s perceived as cool now, as something they already did long ago.

Their new album, White Women shows progression from their earlier works, as it makes no qualms about diving into the sounds of the 1980′s, fully embracing it in all its glory, with reckless abandon. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”, might be the poppiest thing they’ve done, as its guitar licks might be more suited to a modern radio track. However its buried under layers of Patrice Rushen and Ray Parker Jr.-esque synths, and a ridiculously catchy hook, so how mad can one be?

It’s truly an album of letting yourself go and embracing it whole, much like you would when singing your favorite 80′s tune on some drunken karaoke rampage. But they’ve got a slightly more risque edge in their lyrics than what you might have heard back then, on songs like “Sexy Socialite”, “Frequent Flyer”, and “Over Your Shoulder”. The latter packs Flight Of The Conchords levels of brilliance, as Dave One poetically weaves: “It’s those little imperfections that make beauty in my eyes / I want to be in the intersection of your… thighs / And you worry about your size / It’s nonsense, it’s not a contest, and besides / if it was a contest, you’d win it / I want to take a bath with you in it.”

But the pinnacle of this record is the Oliver-produced “Old 45′s”, driven by a sleazy bassline that animates Dave’s vocals perfectly, then maturing into a heartfelt, soulful piano throwback that echoes vintage 80′s TV themes like Hill Street Blues or Cheers. This will definitely resonate with anyone who came up in that era, and may be the classiest thing they’ve ever done.

Music trends come and go, unless you’re Chromeo. In a sense, they’ve picked up on a trend, one long past, and instead of abandoning it when people moved onto the next thing, they’ve stuck with it and made it their own. With their fourth album, White Women, Chromeo proves they are here to stay, letting the good times roll, whether you think it’s cool, or not.

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2 Responses to "Chromeo – “White Women” (Review)"
  • boogie bored says:

    great album, great review

  • Hodges says:

    They still haven’t done anything quite as good as Momma’s Boy IMO, but I like 3 tracks off here, more than any other album they’ve done. I agree Old 45s is the standout and it was cool to hear Ezra on an interlude.

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