Chromeo – Fancy Footwork
By Nick Woodside Thursday, 2 Aug 2007

I’ll be upfront, this record isn’t going to be for everyone. I mean what would you think about a couple of dudes putting out an album of 80’s influenced synth songs? I would imagine “Yeah, no thanks.” Hey, I was skeptical at first and I firmly believe most indie rock bands would kill to make side two of Hall and Oates’ “H20”. Seriously though, this record is catchy as hell. Remember that scene in Back to the Future when Marvin Berry calls Chuck to tell him about Marty’s new sound? Replace Marty with Chromeo, Marvin with Patti Labelle’s cousin Mable and “Johnny B Goode” with “New Attitude” and you’d have a pretty good idea what Fancy Footwork sounds like. Then again, maybe you wouldn’t because that was an awful piece of writing.

I think the biggest thing Chromeo does right is that they are serious in their appreciation of this genre. They aren’t making these songs as a parody or goof. This record sounds like a genuine tribute to the electro-funk songs that were everywhere in the 80’s and early 90’s. “Opening Up (Ce Soir Un Dance)” sounds like it was made for a scene out of an 80’s buddy cop movie. Same with “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys)”. Either would be perfect for the inevitable “God, I have to forget about this girl so I can solve this case, so naturally I should go to this seedy neon club inevitably owned by the drug lord” scene that all these movies have.

Chromeo have called themselves a “thugged out Hall and Oates” and I can see their influence on some of these songs. “Momma’s Boy” has the same sort of vibe as the Hall and Oates classic “Rich Girl”, so much so that I could imagine it as a Hall & Oates B side. “100%” also reminds me a lot of “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”, minus the crushing depression of the latter’s lyrics. Honestly, the only track I don’t like is the lead single “Tenderoni”. It falls a little flat compared to the rest of the album, plus tenderoni is an awful, awful word.

If you’ve got an un-ironic appreciation of their influences (Phil Collins, Hall & Oates, The Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack) you’re going to love this album. Whenever one of their songs comes up on shuffle, I’ll end up listening to the whole album. It’s one of the catchier albums released this year and gets as me as close to dancing as someone without an ounce of rhythm can get.

One Response to “Chromeo – Fancy Footwork”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    i gotta say, after listening to this, its definitely a great album. very fun, self aware, but also not a ironic, like you put it.

    good stuff.

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