Aah… the 1980s. Rabidly bonkers women prime ministers, Monster Munch, Rubik’s Cubes, Steve Martin being funny. Musically, an era of indisputable groundbreaking heavyweights and also some vacuous disposable tripe. Chromeo, an electro duo from Montreal, have decided to cobble together a mix from the latter.
But hang-on, that’s not to say there’s nothing to enjoy here. It becomes apparent that these chaps are applying the nostalgic irony with shovels. These tracks have travelled so far through the full digestive tract of naff-ness that this compilation actually comes out smelling of roses, when it could (and perhaps should) have been the exact opposite.
If you’ve been waiting for Leo Sayer to appear on a DJ Kicks mix, then your patience has finally paid off. Even the bubble-haired buffoon can be stomached when he bizarrely adopts an Al Jolson voice for the funk-lite ‘Easy To Love’.
There are rare occasions when singing in French is acceptable and cheesy synth pop is one of those times, so the inclusion of a few such tracks helps with the tone of the set. The music is so bolted to a specific era that you can almost see the sparks from the static from the manmade fibres on the dancefloor.
We are showered upon by countless cascading synth arpeggios, underpinned by beats so plastic that they should remain in landfill sites rather than ever be recycled. But this is the point and it almost becomes a voyeuristic trip in the halls of a history we wanted to forget, but couldn’t remember why.
And it appears that in the 80′s we were consumed with showing how much we ‘need’ and ‘want’ each other and how ‘hungry’ we are when we simply wanted a shag. We even get to ‘cruise down loveland’ before we ‘set ourselves free’ now and again. Morrissey and Marr this is not.
How long the wry smile on the listeners face may persist is debatable, but Chromeo have done the dirty work for us by digging deeper than could be expected into the bargain bins and charity shops of the world to compile this selection. There was a very good reason we forgot the names of such artists as Donna Allen, Pierre Perpall and France Joli, but this is a guiltily enjoyable excuse to witness their artistry once again.