Fancy Footwork (Vice)

Jun 20, 2007 at 4:00 am
Mid-'80s R&B is the hair metal of funky music — mainly because it extends everything that made the genre good in the 1970s ad nauseam. Hair metal took guitar solos, rock-star debauchery and homoerotic pageantry and made them commonplace (and therefore ridiculous). Similarly, an excess of synthesizers, cocaine and mid-song phone calls (once the shiny forces that forged boogie music out of disco) make it difficult to appreciate mid-'80s R&B unironically. Still, Chromeo — the duo that creates incredibly faithful mid-'80s R&B — has managed another enjoyable (and straight-faced) 40 minutes of the stuff. Fancy Footwork has its share of cornball beauty, with "Bonafied Lovin' (Tough Guys)" and the title track standing out. But Footwork would be hard to take without the relatively subdued second half of the album; in particular, the Hall & Oates-inspired "Momma's Boy" adds a different kind of '80s cheese and keeps things interesting.