wed 17/04/2024

Album: Chromeo - Adult Contemporary | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Chromeo - Adult Contemporary

Album: Chromeo - Adult Contemporary

Dave-1 and P-Thugg's sixth album maintains their post-modern smooth-funkin'

Smart-casual as ever

A decade ago Canadian duo Chromeo had their biggest success with the single “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” and its parent album, White Women. However, it didn’t presage a move into the mainstream.

For over 20 years, Chromeo’s wry-sexy, wordy electro-funk has been more hipster than populist. Their magnificent 2009 appearance, endorsing handwashing, on eye-boggling kids TV programme Yo Gabba Gabba sums up their playful ethos (check YouTube!). Then again, the same could said of their more recent COVID-era Quarantine Casanova EP. They were into all that Random Access Memories schtick before Daft Punk but have never quite made it pay at the same level.

Sixth album, Adult Contemporary, sees them, as ever, revelling in Hall & Oates sonics while offering a deadpan, post-modern comic element, accusing ex-partners of leaving behind their phone charger (“that’s not mine!”) to torment them (on “Personal Effects”). The tone is just this side of Flight of the Conchords but the music is slick, buffed to a gloss.

A weighting of synth-pop also melds with the default yacht-funk. “(I Don’t Need a) New Girl” comes on somewhere between The Weeknd and an Eighties Giorgio Moroder cut. It’s a musical highlight. “Lost and Found”, with its slap bass, is another, boasting prosaically amusing lyrics (“Remember Steve/He’s such a thief/He stole your heart and promised he would never leave”). Bonus points for using the word “frenemies”.

La Roux gives good La Roux on the squelchy, funked-up “Replacements”, yet another Adult Contemporary song about the longing aftermath of a love affair. The atmosphere is not exactly plaintive, though, more a passing disco flight of fancy, as is made clear when they bring on “Ballad of the Insomniacs”, with its ultra-Eighties sax solo. During it, they give up lying awake “tossing’n’turning” over an ex and, instead, go looking for a good time, asking, “If you’re an insomniac, where’s the party at tonight?”.

It’s lazy journalism to suggest music is business-as-usual for a band, but this really is. It has its moments, but never breaks a sweat, smooth, droll, the occasional catchy tune, smart lyrics, slight smirk visible.

Below: Watch the video for "I Don't Need a (New Girl)" by Chromeo

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