Previously regarded as something of a irony-laden novelty act, Canadian duo David Macklovitch (Dave 1) and Patrick Gemayel (P-Thugg), aka Chromeo, now return from a four-year absence to a pop scene which, in the wake of “Get Lucky,” is littered with Nile Rodgers-inspired riffs, vocoders and every other trick in the electro-funk handbook.
Named after a book by erotic photographer Helmut Newton, fourth studio effort, White Women, inevitably sees the pair attempt to reclaim their kings of retro cool crown back from Daft Punk by adopting a collaborative approach similar to the robotic Frenchmen’s Random Access Memories.
In the week that her astonishing elevator brawl with Jay Z was made public, Solange proves once again why she will always remain the more intriguing Knowles sister as she steals the show on the gorgeously moody hipster-pop of “Lost On The Way Home.” Chillwave maestro Toro Y Moi unleashes his inner Jermaine Jackson on the gloriously glittery space age funk of lead single “Come Alive,” while Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig unexpectedly turns R&B crooner on the sparse slow jam of “Ezra’s Interlude.”
But White Women is just as appealingly playful when Chromeo are left to their own devices. Opening track “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” is a humorous unlucky-in-love tale which sits somewhere between the polished pure pop of Katy Perry and the Ghostbusters theme. “Sexy Socialite” is a ridiculous but hugely addictive Prince-esque pastiche which finds the pair trying to impress an It girl before realising that she’s not worthy of their goofball charms. Elsewhere, “Frequent Flyer” is an innuendo-laden affair which combines slinky disco guitars with throbbing Moroder-esque synths, wailing diva vocals and an earworm melody which recalls Lionel Richie at his ceiling-dancing peak.
Chromeo’s description of White Women as “Larry David funk” is proof, if any were needed, that the duo still don’t take themselves too seriously. But these eleven tongue-in-cheek party anthems also show that that they can still get away with the joke.