Touted as a more complex and "musical" offering, Business Casual, the duo's third album, is surprisingly unsurprising. Musically speaking, songs on here are interchangeable with any songs from the previous two albums. In terms of actual content, Dave 1 still likes women and he still likes to talk about them, yet, despite the presence of female vocalists like on album opener "Hot Mess," they usually remain in the realm of indexical signs. Just look at their albums' artwork: lipstick traces and satin gloves here, impeccably shaved legs there. This time, we are greeted by the perfectly shaped ass of a secretary who is probably, er, in control. Looks like she might have fancy footwork, too. So much for a change, eh? Business as usual, then.
The desire to move beyond the template they set for themselves over the course of their career so far couldn't be more apparent than on "You Make It Rough." At first, it seems the song only revisits the perky synthetic thrill of early single "Needy Girl," but as it goes well above the seven minutes mark, you can tell it aims for great things but definitely outstays its welcome (a feeling discrete cowbell-like chimes, car horns, a rapped middle eight and an interminable, directionless coda can't seem to alleviate). First single "Don't Turn the Light On," on the other hand, is just deceptively dull—and even an Aeroplane remix can't do much to salvage it.
"When the Night Falls" gives more room to the female backing vocalist to a point where it almost could be a Taylor Dayne collaboration (now wouldn't that be something truly sexy?), and it is all the better for it. "Don't Walk Away" is a diverting attempt at grasping the kind of string-laden disco thrill the duo explored on their DJ Kicks compilation last year, while the French-sung ballad "J'ai Claqué La Porte" is surprisingly low-key and, well, sweet. But it would be a stretch to call them authoritative.
The album ends with "The Right Type," a rather pleasant if not slightly uneventful mid-tempo number, and the more successfully upbeat "Grow Up," which takes its cue from the kind of white funk Patrick Leonard produced for Madonna circa 1986. Yet, overall, it is hard to shake the feeling you've heard and seen all of this before. If Chromeo was indeed a great idea a decade ago, inhabiting a terrain left aside by electroclash and every other 1980s pillagers after that, it now seems that idea has run its course. Whether they were meant to be cynical ironists right from the start or whether they meant it in a truly genuine way doesn't really matter at this point: like one famous English poet who knew a thing or two about authenticity once said, "That joke isn't (that) funny anymore."