Chic: It’s About Time review – first album in 26 years lunges for relevance

(Virgin)
Nile Rodgers’ disco troupe may have become critically lauded since their last record, and his guitar playing remains a joy – but the special guests weigh it down

It’s About Time isn’t the only Chic album about to be released. It will shortly be sharing space on record shop shelves with The Chic Organisation 1977-79, a lavish box set containing the band’s first three albums alongside a collection of rarities, a facsimile of a promotional 12-inch and We Are Family, the 1979 Sister Sledge album that may well be the greatest Chic production of all. It comes complete with not one, not two, but three essays by prominent cultural critics on Chic’s significance.

It was all noticeably different last time Chic released an album. In 1992, no one was in a rush to lavishly repackage their records or write scholarly essays on their importance. A critic who suggested they were one of the greatest bands of their era would have been going out on a limb. Their back catalogue was treated in the way you might expect a record label to treat the oeuvre of a band who hadn’t had a hit for 10 years: the nearest they came to an archival release was Megachic, a tacky medley of their hits apparently aimed squarely at the kind of person who enjoyed nothing more than donning an afro wig and demanding the DJ at the local 70s night play Rasputin by Boney M.

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