CSS: La Liberación
I think I am one of the only people who liked CSS‘ 2008 sophomore album, Donkey. Their debut album mixed the dance sensibility of a DFA Records band with the magnetism of Lovefoxxx’s Brazilian Madonna-esque sexuality. Their sophomore album mixed in a little more of a rock influence and toned down the sexuality making it a fun party rock record. Critics panned their sophomore album and so CSS went back to the drawing board for their third album, La Liberación.
What the group came up with for their third album was a mixture of the electroclash that made their debut a hit and more of a world influence. The most notable song with a world influence is the album’s first single “Hit Me Like a Rock.” The song abandons their traditional dance format for a reggae-tinged pop feel similar to Lily Allen. Other track continue the world music feel with “City Grrl” incorporating some flamenco-style acoustic guitars and horns.
But the band’s bread and butter remains making danceable electro-clash. The album’s synth-filled opener “I Love You” represents everything that has been great about the band. It features angular synth lines over steady dance beats with Lovefoxxx tying everything together vocally. Lovefoxxx shows a little more depth than usual vocally, giving a pessimistic look at relationships.
In the end, CSS’ insistence on deciding what kind of band they want to be hinders them. If they want to mix world influences with dance music that is fine. If they want to write flippant lyrics about partying and having sex that is fine. The problem arises when they bounce between songs that have a message and songs about frivolous partying, when they bounce between electroclash bangers and acoustic-leaning indie rock. It makes the album feel unbalanced and disjointed.
MP3: CSS “I Love You”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!
CSS: La Liberación