Homage albums typically fall into two categories; those that come off as little more than phoned-in, shallow rip-offs, and those that successfully utilize hindsight to integrate the best elements of a particular genre into one cohesive work, all the while maintaining some semblance of identity. Chromeo‘s latest definitely falls into the latter and is quickly becoming one of my favorite records of the year.
An homage to early 80s vocoder-funk and electro-R&B, Fancy Footwork manages to make you want to dance and laugh with its seriously satisfying funk jams and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. A step up from 2004’s She’s in Control, this album shows off not only stronger songwriting, but also stronger (and cleaner) production. Fancy Footwork is also a more consistent album than their 2004 debut — perhaps somewhat predictably, considering She’s in Control was supposedly Dave One and Pee-Thugg’s first experimental foray into electro-funk.
The new album is also a decidedly more pop-oriented affair, which is most evident on “Momma’s Boy”. Although this oedipal pop-gem may be more Cars than it is Prince or Zapp & Roger — and thus somewhat of a departure from the overall sound of the album — it’s still a definite highlight… and lyrically, it’s downright hilarious. “Opening Up (Ce Soir on Danse)” is more representative of the record as a whole, combining sweet pop melodies with an onslaught of funked-out bass and a myriad of synth.
In my opinion, Chromeo have really come into their own. You’d be hard-pressed to find another album this year that is as entertaining and critically satisfying as Fancy Footwork.
Download: Chromeo – Opening Up (Ce Soir on Danse)
Download: Chromeo – Momma’s Boy