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CSS: La Liberación

CSS
La Liberación
(Cooperative Music)

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It seems that Brazilian group CSS has both grown up a bit and better mastered the English language since their previous two albums. While the pro-partying anthems are still here, there’s a larger amount of depth and lyrical sophistication on this album, as it is mostly devoid of the cute party-all-night fluff featured on their debut album on such tracks as “Alcohol,”  which seemed to be about little else than consuming lots of said beverage. The melodies themselves have also gotten more complex with the band showing they are capable of both melancholy introspection as well as pro-hedonistic tunes.

One of the albums most obvious standouts is “City Grrl” on which LoveFoxxx channels her recurring themes of independence and hedonism into a lamentation on desiring a self sustaining life in the excitement of New York City. “I wish I would dye my hair pink /put on black lipstick /In the big city nothing hurts nothing hurts,” she sings. The album has a hard stomping feel of puncturing synth beats and vocals offset by curving saxophone melodies. The following track, the happy, upbeat “Echo of Love” bears a resemblance to Donkey’s “Reggae All Night,” bringing to mind a sunny day in Brazil.  “Just let it go,” advises the song.

The band showcases their increased lyrical and melodic range most clearly on the appealing track “You Could Have It All.” “You could have it all/But then what’s left for me?” asks LoveFoxxx, showing a vocal range equipped for both the subtle and the obvious. Another noteworthy track, “Ruby Eyes,” is a delicious bit of guitar-centered, chorus-centered rock that brings to mind nineties era grunge rock. A chorus that matches the title is well offset by keyboards.

The album’s sole questionable offering is “Red Alert” in which LoveFoxxx tries her hand at rapping, channeling Blondie’s own foray into spoken word. While the chorus is appealing, Foxxx’s rapping is not immediately appealing to the ears, although it grows on you with time. Overall, La Liberacion brings along the same infectious energy and tongue-in-cheek humor that made them a hit the States in the first place. I only hope that on their next release CSS goes further with their pattern of embracing the cerebalness alongside their penchant for parties.

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