CSS - La Liberación

La Liberación, CSS
Fontana, Brazil
Rating: 60
by Jean-Stephane Beriot

Cansei de Ser Sexy is making every negligible and relevant publication out there accentuate at least one vowel in their latest issue/web update with the release of La Liberación. The highly anticipated third album from Brazil’s most flamboyant and intercontinental import is a step forward from their self-destructive and self-descriptive sophomore album, Donkey. Bittersweet news, though, as CSS is still mediocre at best. In the lapse of three back-to-back albums, lead party host Lovefoxxx and hybridizing producer Adriano Cintra have succeeded at keeping things breezy and fluorescently trashy. Nothing wrong with that, but once you realized CSS is more about posture than actual pop pedigree, things get to be anything but liberating.

It would be very easy to consent to the CSS experience as one exclusive to the dance floor and the sunny days, but that’s a settlement not even the band would ever approve of. For one, because behind the fun summer jams and adolescent revolt themes there is a band with a certain level of ambition. When CSS opts to self-resolve the album’s first quintessential line “Feel the beat of my heart?” with something as fuzzy as “I love you, I love you too,” you can’t help but cringe. Lovefoxxx and company are blindly immersed in hyper-strained ground and, while wonderfully entertaining at times (see the off-your-seat “City Grrrl”), overall they’re not very savvy at resolving their own dramatic tests. But the few times they do get it right, you come to realize you’ve been rooting for them all along.

In a recent chat with Spin, the band disclosed the only imposed rule while recording this album was “to be very exuberant and not think of how to do it live.” There are very few moments in which the band fulfills that promise, and I think it’s for the better. It’s the funkier and slower numbers that save La Liberación from a complete malfunction. Just listen to the beachy waves and breathy vocals on “Hits Me Like A Rock” and you’ll get to understand the band’s ironic confession about losing their edge. The very attractive and lauded Spanish-language title track is also impressive in its march-like sequencing, but it is a lyrical disaster (if you understand the whole horse imagery here, please enlighten me). CSS has made a career out of well-handled funky hooks and an over-the-top spirit, and that’s ultimately what you get here. La Liberación is yet another effort to reconcile nu rave with its new wave cousin. The approach and execution are flawed, but somehow they always manage to keep most things afloat.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you and everyone really expect from CSS? They had a really awesome dance-y first album, followed by another that didn't seem to meet people's expectations. What expectations were set? If you're a fan like I am, you're happy to hear the dreamy guitars and Lovefoxx's singing. Do you want another "Alcohol" or "Music is my hot hot sex"? If you want the old music, fans should listen to the old album. And do you really think "Hits me like a rock" really contains a confession about CSS losing their edge? I highly doubt that. Overall, I can't stomach you calling La Liberacion an almost complete malfunction. This album really shows just how popular CSS has stayed since their debut. Lovefoxx sounds just as good, they have some exciting tracks and dreamy tracks (Red Alert? Did you listen to that one featuring Ratatat?). To be able to play the dreamy-sounding tracks during a live show and still keep the audience enthused is a challenge which they have met, which I know since I've seen them recently live. How many bands can you say that about who also first came out during the 2006 electro boom?

I think you really just expect CSS to keep coming out with the same kind of music that they produced in their first album. That's a completely unrealistic expectation. Your review does not celebrate the fact that they are doing what so many bands fail to do- keep a solid fan following and continuously get booked for tours.

Anonymous said...

Algo sucede con los discos de CSS, por lo regular nunca son muy afortunados, pero al final funcionan, y terminan por funcionar muy bien. En lo que a mi respecta, me parece una banda muy ingeniosa, pero creo que sí fallaron con este (y el disco pasado)

amable said...

Creo que estás reseñando la carrera de CSS en lugar del disco, me gustó la influencia de Sonic Youth en éste, si tiene algunos temas medio chafas (como el primero) pero por otra parte es atrevido y crece cada escuchada. Parece el hijito de Sonic Nurse con Nueva América.

KarenT said...

SUPER LOL on Anonymous #1. Starting with the fact that CSS has never made a GOOD album, not a single one.

Want to talk about singles though? Yeah, they got some really good ones.

KappacssCoupa said...

Karen T, you missed the point, and I'll bet its not the first time. You use the word never, lol.
CSS is fine band, and they make great ALBUMS. I would be interested in seeing your music collection, Im guessing is full of TOP 40 garbage.
When you get a clue about what makes a good album, then you may enlighten us, OR when YOU make a album, let us know.
I agree with Anonymous 1. Each album is different b/c we dont want the same thing over and over. Karen T, stick to your Top40, and stay away from CSS, we dont need you.

Ahie said...

Sorry, but I really love the new album. I can dace to it, I can have fun while listening to it. THAT'S CSS!! Making good music to have fun.

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