When bands like Phoenix, Junior Boys or Justice
re-appropriate the post-disco sounds of the late ‘70s/’80s they usually do so
with a layer of suave art, tweaking the style with modern sensibilities. Not so
for Chromeo. The Montreal duo’s unabashed retro obsession runs pure, and all
signs point to Prince, to new wave pop, and/or to the top 40 hits of Hall &
Oates (Chromeo played with Hall on his show Live
From Daryl’s House and backed him at Bonnaroo).
That’s a mighty fine era to explore. Vintage synths and
syn-drums, talkbox vocals, cowbells, wah-wah guitar solos-Chromeo goes for
authenticity in mining a synthetic era. The magic comes, though, not in their
ability to recreate, but in their facility to write songs that live up to the
nostalgic memories on which they’re based. This is a seriously fun batch of
tracks, from the soulful “Don’t Turn The Lights On,” with its percolating
sequencers, to the dancefloor anthem “Night By Night” to the string-kissed
“Don’t Walk Away.” And unlike with their debut, there’s no question of irony.
Turn The Lights On,” “Don’t Walk Away” STEVE KLINGE