Album Review: Chromeo – Business Casual

Chromeo – Business Casual
Big Beat: 2010

Electro snyth funk is not a genre I dabble in regularly. It’s more of an accessory. It’s something you play the first and last time you decide to throw an 80s dance party. Like an 80’s dance party, Chromeo has confirmed with their latest album, Business Casualthat their sound is not going to evolve much beyond what we’ve hear before. So it may be time for this Canadian funk duo to take the batteries out of the synthesizers— if only to avoid a flare up of leotards, brought on by the onslaught of synth-induced tracks that stifle any room for evolution. Oddly enough, this seems to be a growing trend among indie bands as well, incorporating synthesizers then laying each track with a mess of auto harmonizes. So perhaps it’s too late. The tight jeans. The bad hair. Mustaches. Vintage Keytars.

The 80’s have awoken. Crawled out of the hole from whence it came, only to take over our talent with Moog synthesizers. But seriously, where’s a Fender Rhodes when you need one?

Fortunately if you’re into synthpop, synthfunk, or anything Chromeo has put out in the last five years, then you might as well drink the Kool-Aid. If Chromeo knows anything about music, they know synth, funk and an over-the-top 80’s sound that only two guys from Canada could reproduce.

Lyrically, this album will not invoke self discovery, solve world peace or bring about any attainable emotion.  It’s mostly about turning off lights, getting laid, trying to get laid or trying to mend a relationship, if only to get laid. There nothing wrong with that. It could make for a great soundtrack to a possible sequel of “The Ladies Man.” Think the usual 80’s funk quips about things like, turning off lights, working it, waiting for nightfall and telling your woman, “Don’t Walk Away”.

Chromeo climaxes around the third track with “Night By Night”. With Daft Punk remix potential, this track is full of the most catchy synth melodies. It’s a danceable track that gives this album a purpose.

“Hot Mess” has more signs of cookie-cutter Chromeo. It incorporates tasteful synth solos, a powerful drum machine and a heartbreaking soliloquy from robo talk box extraordinaire, P-Thugg.

“Grown Up” shines through the haze of funk with a more playful, upbeat, and dare I say, relevant track, akin to Paul Simon. With lines like, “I’m not asking for much,” and “Because if we can’t be grown-ups then we won’t grow up,” perhaps Chromeo is letting us know that they’re not out to change their sound, because any more evolved and they’d be in the 90’s at best.

2.5 out of 5

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