Album Reviews

CSS – Cansei De Ser Sexy

(Sub Pop) UK release date: 10 July 2006

CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy Brazil. For all its many good points, from football to the Rio carnival, it’s a country not usually mentioned in conversations about indie music. At least it wasn’t before something called Lovefoxx and her troupe of Sao Paulo electropunks crowdsurfed into contention, catching the attention of electroheads and fun-loving punks alike.

Cansei De Ser Sexy, title of band and album, is a Portuguese translation of a quote by, of all people, Beyoncé. “I’m tired of being sexy,” the Destiny’s Child bootyshaker was rumoured to have sighed. But this is no Jay-Z produced, commercial ditty. CSS the album has more in common with the likes of LCD Soundsystem – if they’d formed on a beach beneath a giant statue of Jesus, arms outstretched, while knocking back the Brahma.

CSS are one of those bands whose appeal lies largely in their live sets, where songs such as album opener CSS Suxxx come into their own, but there are plenty of moments on this slow-burning debut that have fun factor 15 slapped all over their wobbly bits. Not only that, but the album sleeve has a lovely big gold foil logo on, and all the band (except the drummer/producer) are gurrrlz.

Singer Lovefoxx’s pronunciation reminds immediately of Björk in her early, look-at-me-I’m-mad-and-don’t-I-sound-it days, which, considering the temperature difference between Lovefoxx’s childhood homeland and that of the patron saint of pixies, is something like astonishing. They playfully hop and skip around vintage synth sounds (think BBC Radiophonic Workshop circa Dr Who) with the volume turned up to distortion level. And, just to mash it all up properly, there’s lashings of guitar and bass too.

The songs really do begin and end with Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above. This funky little ditty’s lyrics, while clunky and not a little knowing of that which they reference, pale into insignificance alongside a beat that’s impossible not to dance to. The heavier Artbitch, with an unusual beat, underlines that CSS have a sound comprised of many influences but one that is irreproachably their own. Another memorable track, Alala, holds up their English-Portuguese patois as a cool, unique thing and suggests the band are more interested in individual expression than musical perfection.

The increasingly (and inexplicably) iconic Paris Hilton gets a reference too on Meeting Paris Hilton, though it’ll be about as welcome to the world’s most famous heiress as those Banksy-penned limited edition album covers. The word “bitch” is uttered enthusiastically, and several times over. Best of all is Music Is My Hot Hot Sex, a spritely number based on a childishly simple phrase that’s all the more addictive for its repetition. And who could resist these exotic lyrics: “Music is my beach house, music is my home town, music is my king size bed…”

Not all the tracks are as strong, and CSS is not the most immediate record you’ll hear this year, despite some gilt-foiled highlights. But CSS could herald the opening up of new Brazilian music to wider appreciation while the girls responsible for it make hay as their sun continues to shine. Dead cert to be making festivals the most fun they’ve ever been by this time next year.

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