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Chromeo – Business Casual review

A duo that tread the fine line between retro and hip perfectly (with just a little fancy footwork naturally), P-Thug and Dave “brother of A-Trak” 1 are finally back, on top form with their third album Business Casual. The title alone spells out exactly what Chromeo are all about – allusions of kitsch grandeur with tongue lodged firmly in cheek. Thankfully not much has changed with the Canadian pair, and Business Casual still sees them hooked on early-’80s delights like Hall and Oates, Zapp and a host of others.

“Hot Mess” kicks things off with a cowbell-riding, Prince-style beat and an urgent note-hugging bassline that Dave 1 flexes his vocals around. Unusually it even features some sporadic bass cut-out’s, making it sound as though a DJ is at the helm – an odd trick that’s rarely used on albums, but one which shows Chromeo’s affinity among club crowds. “Night By Night” is pitch perfect, right down to the tight reverb on the montage-tastic guitar solo and the interwoven talkbox verses. Single “Don’t Turn The Light On” nicely reminds of the melancholy pop of Angela Winbush’s classic “I’ll Be Good”, again featuring a dramatic and brilliantly OTT glide-synth solo.

The Prince-isms continue on “You Make It Rough”, which sounds like an updated “Controversy” with its rooted basslines and sparse drum machine backing. The boys are joined by a guest female vocal on the classy pop of “When The Night Falls”, which could eerily be an unearthed Madonna & Jellybean tune from 1986. “Don’t Walk Away” gets smothered in strings and sees them move into more disco and boogie territory, specifically D-Train or Change, while “The Right Type” will have movie producers on the phone begging for it to be used over the next closing credits out of Hollywood. Apart from the pacey swinging tempo of closer “Grow Up”, it’s business as usual for Chromeo and that’s no bad thing at all.

Oliver Keens