The Arty Semite

An Arab-Jewish Duo Unites Over Sexy Synth-Pop

By Abigail Jones

  • Print
  • Share Share
Biz3

If Chromeo has proven anything, it’s that they’re “leg men.” The cover art of the Montreal-based electro-pop duo’s breakout album, “Fancy Footwork” (2007), reveals David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel playing keyboards perched atop legs straight out of a Robert Palmer video.

Their third and latest album, “Business Casual,” released last week, continues the trend. A woman in black stockings, sky-high heels and a tight miniskirt looms above a Xerox machine while a pile of headshots spits out onto the floor. The guys in the photos — both scruffy and cool in a way that’s meant to look effortless (but isn’t) — are Dave 1 and P-Thugg, the self-professed “only successful Arab/Jew partnership since the dawn of human culture.” The cover art reminds us that this is a world where sex is expected and Chromeo rules.

“Business Casual” sounds like a disco after-party held in a frat basement. It’s hardly a grand departure from the band’s first two albums, “She’s in Control” (2004) and “Fancy Footwork,” which defined the duo’s brand of disco-infused 80’s synth-pop. With heavy inspiration from their ‘80s soul mates, Hall & Oates, Chromeo infuses “Business Casual” with synths, staccato, robotic lilts, and Vocoder. And as the song titles suggest, the album is about partying and getting girls, or at least trying to.

“The ambience of this record is more that the lights are dim and it’s time to put on a couple candles. It’s a bit of a ‘grown and sexy’ feel that we brought into this record,” Macklovitch recently told AVClub.com.

The party starts with the infectiously energized “Hot Mess,” followed by the similarly bouncy “Night by Night” and “Don’t Turn the Lights On.” “When the Night Falls,” featuring Solange Knowles, an established R&B singer and Beyoncé’s younger sister, is a catchy, sultry gem that takes cues from Whitney Houston’s 1985 hit “How Will I Know.” The album slows down with the string-heavy “Don’t Walk Away” and mellows out with “J’ai Claque la Porte,” sung entirely in French.

To a certain degree, the songs are variations on each other, only with different tempos, energies and romantic dilemmas. The lyrics are so accessible and obvious (“don’t stop, baby, let the rhythm take your body”) that they are reminiscent of the early ‘90s pop songs my friends and I used as inspiration for choreographed dance routines (Amy Grant’s “Baby baby, the stars are shining for you” meant jazz hands falling from the sky, obviously). Chromeo rose to considerable fame with “Fancy Footwork,” and although music critics are quick to point out that the band has yet to update its signature sound, “Business Casual” is catchy enough to permeate the lower echelon of the mainstream while satisfying core fans — at least until Chromeo’s next installment of sexy, leggy pop slinks out of the bedroom before dawn.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: When the Night Falls, Solange Knowles, Robert Palmer, Patrick Gemayel, P-Thugg, J'ai Claque la Porte, Night by Night, Hot Mess, Fancy Footwork, Don't Walk Away, Don't Turn the Lights On, David Macklovitch, Dave 1, Chromeo, Business Casual, Beyoncé Knowles, Amy Grant, Whitney Houston

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.