It’s About Time

Chic

Virgin EMI, 2018

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chic_(band)

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/20/2020

After a string of eight successful disco/R&B albums released from 1977-83, Chic took a back seat as its founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards focused on writing and producing for other artists. The group briefly resurfaced in 1992 with the Chic-ism LP and then continued gigging across the globe until Edwards untimely passing at age 43 in 1996 following a gig in Tokyo. Rodgers carried on as Chic with an ever changing rotation of players. However, there would be no further original material released for some time as he also continued his work as one of the most in-demand and respected producers in the industry.

The last decade has seen Rodgers fight two different cancer battles, writing his memoirs, writing and producing for a litany of artists, touring the world with both Chic and solo (as masterclasses in small venues), and finally finding time to record new material here and there with the aim of putting together another Chic album. This all came together in 2018 as the current Chic line-up: lead vocalists Folami and Kimberly Davis, Jerry Barnes (bass), Ralph Rolle (drums), and both Richard Hilton and Russell Graham on keyboards. The trio of Brandon Wright, Richard Holloman, and Curt Ramm complete the touring outfit, supplying the all-important horns. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It’s About Time was to be the first of two new Chic albums, which also brought to a close the band’s recording career. As of yet, that second and final part of the set has not been released. In an effort to bring the Chic brand (and legacy) to the younger generations, Rodgers brought in an array of guest writers and performers to contribute their talents, and he spent four years recording and mixing these tracks.

The album sounds like a Chic record, albeit a contemporary one, which I guess was the goal here. The classic Rodgers’ guitar tone and playing style is present in every track, and in keeping with Chic tradition, it’s a brief affair, with the nine track album playing out in just over half an hour (some editions come with a bonus remix track.)

The album is full of energetic floor fillers like “Boogie All Night” (featuring Nao), “Do You Wanna Party” with LunchTime Lewis on vocals, and “Dance With Me” on which Hailee Steinfeld guests. The stronger cuts, however, are when the classic Chic sound is more prominent as on the slick opener “Till The World Falls” and the (almost) instrumental piece “State Of Mine (It’s About Time),” on which French New Age jazz man Philippe Saisse hits the keys and Rodgers’ drops some funk riffs over the trippy rhythm track.

Elton John and Emeli Sande guest on the clumsy “Queen,” which never really finds its feet nor does it develop a memorable melody. Much better is the closing track “I Want Your Love,” which is a re-recording of a Chic classic song from their ground-breaking C’est Chic LP from 1978, where Lady Gaga drops in and delivers a typical powerhouse performance.

It’s About Time is an exuberant and stylish addition to the Chic catalogue that for the most part succeeds in mashing the classic Chic sound with all of the modern-day studio indulgences.

Rating: B

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