CSS – Donkey — music review
Posted on August 22, 2008 by Kris Nelson
Don’t you hate it when bands you like — and you like them partially because no one’s ever heard of them — are featured on TV commercials? CSS’ ‘Music is my Hot Hot Sex’ serenaded some spinning iPod Touch, making me quite sad for a quite long twenty seconds, but then, who can stay sad when listening to CSS??
The skippity-skip drum beats, deft-like-ninja synth rolls, breathy buttery tones of lead singer/writer Lovefoxxx (she has one of those voices that you would be mesmerized with even if she were reading Twinkies ingredients; so velvety and commanding; Donkey showcases it), and self-effacing then arrogant attitudes supporting lyrics so simple and honest and asinine only ESL speeches can get away with.
Really, dare you not to smile.
Brazilian bands do Robotic 80′s sounds like no other, unparalleled in recreating both guitar- and synth-driven masterpieces. São Paulo’s CSS is no exception. Bits of XTC, the Cure, Lush, arcade-esque chase scenes… it’s familiar, yet completely original, completely infectious. And that is why my second frown with CSS was with the recently released Donkey… but only so briefly.
Donkey is more of a disco-infused and guitar fuzz-wall revival à la The Strokes, where their 2006 debut Cansei de Ser Sexy (rough Portuguese translation is “tired of being sexy”, based on a Beyonce quote) was an unrelenting daring dance-punk-funk fiesta. ‘Rat is Dead (Rage)’ employs uncomfortable flat scales and screeching reminiscent of the Pixies. ‘Let’s Reggae All Night’ is completely the opposite of the dedicated genre, funkified bassline (drummer Adriano Cintra, who in two short years looks like he’s aged twenty, taking over Ira’s departure) much appreciated. Find the matching funky bookend in ‘Move’.
You may miss the rich variety and highly inventive, humorous edge of their debut (oh ‘Alala’ there is no equal to your charms… I love you too ‘Artbitch’), but just think of it as a second date after an ancient one-night stand, getting better acquainted after being bombarded by raw. Listening and accepting their sophomore evolution takes patience, but for those who can’t muster it, no worries, CSS is sexy enough to find other fans.