It would seem that everything about self-described ‘funkateers’ Chromeo is a contradiction; whether it’s their comedic nicknames Dave-One & P-Thugg, the fact that Dave looks like a well-groomed lothario, whilst P-Thugg looks like one of Cypress Hill’s roadies, or the fact they’re the only “Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture”, their words – it would be fair to say all the preconceptions you’ve probably made about Chromeo are almost certainly wrong.
Chromeo’s latest long-play White Women comes 4 years after their last album Business Casual – so how does it live up to the hype? Very well actually, White Women represents the duo’s most cohesive body of work, but despite this new found cohesiveness, White Women still segues from disco-boogie to jaunty 80s synth pop in-the-blink-of-an-eye and while this schizophrenic approach might be too much for some, it does make for one hell of a ride.
Whether’s it’s the electric pace of ‘Sexy Socialite’ or the balmy vocals of ‘Lost On The Way Home’ which features Solange on vocals, Dave-One’s contribution to the album’s vocals is unquestionable, and while P-Thugg is only used sparingly, his masterclass in talk box/vocoder trickery is worth the entry fee alone. Interestingly the album actually begins with one of the weaker tracks alongside LA duo Oliver, it’s not bad per say but it just doesn’t really hold a candle to some of the more vivacious tracks like ‘Play The Fool’ and ‘Over Your Shoulder’.
There are, of course, a few missteps along the way, ‘Ezra’ Interlude’ doesn’t seem to fit with the album’s party-starter image, and while it does offer something a bit different it’s a little off putting at times. The same can be levelled at ‘Old 45s’ which is so charmingly mushy don’t be surprised if it crops up on 90210 or something. But for every misstep there’s a single in the waiting and ‘Somethingood’ is a case in point; another vintage Dave-One performance flanked by luminescent synths and disco basslines as the track seemingly resets three times for the better. Finishing on a high note, White Women closes with ‘Fall Back 2u’ which is Chromeo at their best for our money; not too over-the-top and not too soppy but full of positive, bright pads, a stunning sax solo, Dave One’s looped vocals, and another one of those hypnotising P-Thugg vocal solos that just keeps on giving.
Chromeo’s album was probably always going to attract some negative nancys – but if you’re looking for a musical pick-me-up ‘White Women’ represents 10CCs of pure unadulterated happiness that is guaranteed to brighten up your day – but only if you let it.
HBF Rating 4/5