Canadian electronic duo Chromeo are probably best known for their 2007 hit Fancy Footwork used in a well-known hair commercial, but they’ve actually been releasing albums since 2004. ‘White Women’ is their fourth album that will more than likely push them further into the mainstream.
First up are the recent singles that, funnily enough, make up the opening four tracks. Jealous (I Ain’t With It) immediately establishes their electrofunk sound that’s straight off the dance floor and crammed with hooks: all slap bass, processed beats and neon squiggly synth lines. That style is consistent across the singles and the album as a whole: Come Alive features Toro y Moi, lending some guitar licks alongside the syncopated rhythms; Over Your Shoulder slows things down a tad into a smooth funk groove; and then there’s the lengthy Sexy Socialite with its 80s MIDI sounds and female monologue (“why you coming at me homey with so much acrimony”). Just ignore their lyrics – the line “and even though you’ve got small breasts, well to me they look the best” from Over Your Shoulder is particularly bad. This is a dance duo who excel with their production rather than their songwriting.
They sure know how to write a good pop hook though – ‘White Women’ is full of them. There’s a strong 80’s influence that leads to some kitsch electronic effects but alongside the often amusing lyrics, it makes for an album full of tongue-in-cheek charm. Old 45’s has a strong retro vibe (as the title suggests) with its skittering drum pads and guitar solo middle eight and it’s as hooky as any of the other tracks on the album – the upbeat Somethingood that switches to a half speed funk groove for its final third; or the bubbling Frequent Flyer and its amusing plane-themed lyrics. Album closer Fall Back 2U is pure Daft Punk with its clipped samples, uptempo house production and autotuned vocal solo. There’s even a cheeky saxophone solo for a splash of 80’s cheese. And with Lost On The Way Home the tempo is taken down a notch as current queen of pop-cool Solange joins the duo on vocals – it’s on a par with any of her own material. Each track is as distinct and memorable as the next, resulting in a polished album of dance-influenced pop
‘White Women’ does dip a little in the middle, with a couple of filler tracks whose hooks miss the mark and a slower track, Ezra’s Interlude (feat. Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend), that provides a jolting change of pace. Chromeo are at their best doing their own infectious funky thing – this new album is nothing less than consistently fun.
* Lost On The Way
* Fall Back 2U
Listen: 'White Women' is released on May 12th.