It’s not what you think. Chromeo is not a tricked-out Shakespearean Romeo with platinum spinning necklaces and matching grill. However, as odd as a pairing between Shakespeare, and something usually used to make cars look shiny seems, Chromeo is quite the odd pair themselves. Hailing out of Montreal, Canada, P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) and Dave 1 (David Macklovitch), are the self-proclaimed “Arab/Jewish partnership” that makes up the group Chromeo.
Together since 2001, Chromeo released their third-album “Business Casual” in September, and are looking to follow-up the success of their 2007 sophomore effort, “Fancy Footwork.” The group is heavily influenced by hip-hop, but their music expands to several genres and eras (they have garnered comparisons to 80’s popular duo, Hall & Oates). The strength of their sound comes from their ability to create songs that are popular among DJ’s who play their songs all around the world.
“Business Casual” is business as usual for Chromeo, who dish out track after track of fun, dance-driven beats that sound like they would have fit in just as well in an 80’s New York club. The album kicks off in typical Chromeo fashion with the smooth, dancey vibe of the opening track “Hot Mess,” which also features the signature velvety-voiced rapping of Dave 1. But as the album progresses, even as early as the second track “I’m not contagious,” a distinct level of maturity is heard in the sound created on this album.
Every song overflows with confidence as Dave 1 makes his romantic declarations in part-time lover fashion. In “I’m not contagious” he sings, “I got the kind of love that knocks you down” — let me clarify that this is not a reference to domestic violence. The highlights of the album come in the second half and they are back to back. “Don’t walk away” and the entirely French song, “J’ai claque la porte” or “I slammed the door,” are heartfelt songs that immediately transport Chromeo beyond seemingly simple dance songs to carefully crafted pieces that prove these guys are not just here to have fun and party. They know what they’re doing.
The best thing about this album is how Chromeo are now comfortable enough, both in their music as in their style, to not have to force dance songs. Instead they slow many tracks down and create music that has a great groove but is also perfect for crowded rooms in which the music is playing in the background but you can still have a conversation.
You might not know who Chromeo is, but take it from me, you should. “Business Casual” may not be the next best-selling album, but I guarantee if you play it at your next party, everyone will be asking you who’s playing? And they’ll think you are the coolest person they know, who’s in the know, on the hottest bands that no one else knows.