Chromeo - White Women

Funk aims headfirst for the charts.

Label: Parlophone

Rating:

The opening seconds of Chromeo’s ‘White Women’ could easily be mistaken for Katy Perry’s gigantic, brilliant ‘Teenage Dream’ single. That’s about the clearest indication required of where this funk duo are headed on their fourth album. They’ve cleaned up - without sacrificing their grubby, crude sense of humour, mind you - and they’re writing the cleanest, most shiny pop songs of their career. 

This is partly a response to Dave 1 and P-Thugg’s soft rock staples suddenly becoming the coolest thing on the planet in a post-‘Get Lucky’ landscape. It’s also a simple refining process - whereas before Chromeo might’ve thrown in a playful solo, this time they’ll insert another round of the chorus, or maybe a nifty key change. 

Recruiting big names is a smart move. On ‘Lost On The Way Home’, Solange gives edge to the album’s moody ballad. ‘Ezra’s Interlude’ witnesses Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig pouring his heart out through an emotive falsetto. ‘Come Alive’ meanwhile practically casts Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick as some kind of parallel universe Pharrell. Whoever’s involved, they’re always fronting sharp-edged, flawless pop.

The standout is completely of Chromeo’s making. ‘Old 45’s’ references nostalgia in spades, but it’s also the most modern sounding track on the album, packing a chorus that blends disco and soul with deadly intent. This is the kind of song that could arrive midway through any year and steal the plaudits. On ‘White Women’, even the dodgy in-jokes are drowned out by astute songwriting.