4.5 out of 5 stars
If you woke up naked and disoriented in a strange alley after a freak time-travel mishap, listening to Chromeo’s third and most recent album Business Casual would not help you determine the decade in which you had landed.
P Thugg’s passionately committed, rising synth riffs, driving bass lines and marathon drum fills are heavily affected and re-affected with a child-like enthusiasm for twings and twangs, unrivaled since the synthesizer explosion of the early ’80s. Meanwhile, Dave 1’s inspirational-montage-ready guitar solos and vocals are delivered with such sincerity and musicianship that, at times, you find yourself convinced that Chromeo has never heard of the ’80s and that maybe they think this is an entirely new sound.
The lyrics walk a similarly fine line: they are tongue in cheek, but at the same time refreshingly honest. The steady use of conversational call-and-response verses to convey the subject matter is like eavesdropping on lovers fighting, or on two close friends discussing relationship troubles.
None of this is new terrain for Chromeo. But what is different about Business Casual is that, in this body of work, the band demonstrates a maturity far beyond simple catchy, funny, chronologically misplaced dance music. — Dustin Huth