Under Review: CSS – Donkey

After winning over scores of fans with their self-titled international debut in 2006, Brazil’s CSS may have also grown tired of only making electronic music. While not totally abandoning the electroclash scene to which they are so closely associated, CSS mix up their arrangements on their new album, Donkey. Fear not, though, as Lovefoxxx‘s trademark vocals and drummer/musical director Adriano Cintra‘s songwriting are as strong as ever. After hearing lead single “Rat Is Dead (Rage)”, you might be led to think that CSS have sold their turntables and bought guitars, but the Tom Tom Club-invoking keyboard stabs on “Let’s Reggae All Night” show that the band hasn’t burned all of their bridges. Still, guitars are plentiful throughout the disc, and bang out riffs that often rock (“How I Became Paranoid”) and sometimes can’t be distinguished from the keyboards (opener “Jager Yoga”). CSS still wear their influences on their brightly-colored sleeves, with “Left Behind” referencing Devo‘s jagged synths and the darker “Believe Achieve” not only echoing Depeche Mode, but contemporaries like Ladytron. Donkey is very much a picture of a band in transition. I salute CSS for not opting to make their debut all over again, but I anxiously await their next album to see what becomes of the changes in direction.

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~ by E. on August 2, 2008.

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