Release Date: Jun 11, 2013
Record label: SQE
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Baile Funk
Multi-instrumentalist and prime CSS composer Adriano Cintra recently unceremoniously cut ties with the band, citing the fact that fame had gone to the rest of the their heads and the fact they couldn’t play their instruments properly as a reason: Harsh words from the outgoing creative force. Cansei De Ser Sexy (reportedly a Beyoncé quote that translates to: “Tired of being sexy,”) – aren’t mourning the loss of Cintra though, his parting words have had little effect. There’s a definite, clear change in direction on their fourth LP but it doesn’t seem to be of any detriment.
CSS' fourth studio album and first release since parting ways with drummer/songwriter/producer Adriano Cintra in 2011, 2013's Planta is a frothy, lightly experimental electro-pop outing that retains all of the band's fun, dance party energy. Produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Planta features all of the old-school-sounding synths and drum machines CSS have built their sound around since their infectious 2006 debut, Cansei de Ser Sexy. In fact, this time out, CSS' keyboard-heavy club sound, combined with lead singer Lovefoxxx's idiosyncratic deadpan delivery, sounds even more like Nico fronting the Tom Tom Club.
By now, it's clear CSS vocalist Lovefoxxx is perfectly adept at anchoring either emotion-avoidant electro-tinged soundtrack sleekness (“Nightcall,” the call to order for Drive) or sending spangled neo-disco love songs into the pink stratosphere (“Heartbreaker,” her collaboration with Steve Aoki and, in a perfect world, the song of last summer). Her Björkian voice can volley from stridently discordant to deliberately wraithlike in the space of a few bars. Within the sonic universe of CSS (who, with their fourth album, Planta, are emerging from the contentious departure of the band's only male member, Adrian Cintra, who claimed his cohorts didn't appreciate his contributions and couldn't even play their own instruments), she usually opts for the harsher side of the spectrum, and it plays well.
Cansei de Ser Sexy famously took their name from a Beyoncé interview in which the world's favorite diva declared that she was "tired of being sexy." The Brazilian band have consistently used cool, yelpy electro-punk to take a stand against something or other; shouting out rebuttals to female stereotypes while being coy about it, too. With Planta, they lose their only male member, Adriano Cintra. Unfortunately, that means losing part of CSS' appeal along with him.
CSS play the Opera House tonight (Thursday, July 4). See listing. Rating: NN CSS are one of the last bands you might expect would still be around in 2013. Part of the fad-happy nu-rave scene of the mid-00s, the Brazilian dance-rockers shot to indie prominence by referencing of-the-moment pop culture (i.e.
Nobody expects bands as bratty as CSS – whose past titles include "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" and "Fuck Everything" – to mature. Their music is punky, clubby, intensely annoying and other qualities their fans will describe as "fun," but therein lies the band's integrity: They tend to stay out of the middle of the road. Still, the relative professionalism of Planta – executive produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek – plays mostly to their weaknesses: Candy like "Girlfriend" and the quasi-reggaeton "Hangover" (a Tim Armstrong co-write) zip by, but forced into slower material, frontwoman Lovefoxxx freezes up and the band behind her sounds awkward – a teenage response after all.
Cansei de Ser Sexy‘s self-titled debut album is eight years old. Eight! A throbbing collection of indie-tinted dance-pop, it spawned a succession of irresistible singles, among them Alala and the triumphantly timeless Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above. Greatness beckoned, but it also – perhaps conclusively – proved elusive: follow-ups Donkey and La Liberación lacked the vim, verve and vigour of their beloved forerunner, each meeting with a lukewarm reception both critically and commercially.
Sans multi-instrumentalist/producer Adriano Cintra, Brazil’s now all-female CSS decided to pack up their gear and head to Los Angeles to record their fourth full-length endeavor, Planta. This new setting made it easy for the dance-punk collective to maintain their sunny SÃ£o Paulo disposition while recruiting talent to fill the considerable void of founding member Cintra. Tapping TV on the Radio guitarist Dave Sitek to serve as producer, the ever-sensual Lovefoxxx and co.
Some will argue that CSS have had their time, and should do the honourable thing and hang up the catsuits for good. But conversely, they could be credited as the sole survivors (Jamie Righton's marriage to Keira Knightley, and Hadouken!'s reunion tour notwithstanding) of the ill-fated day-glo movement of the mid-00s. For CSS, it wasn't long before the serotonin-blitzed euphoria of nu-rave would give way to the tears and tantrums of an almighty comedown.
When flamboyant upstarts CSS released their self titled debut back in 2005 it would be fair to say that odds on them reaching album number four were slim to say the least. ‘Planta’ is their first record since the departure of multi-instrumentalist Adriano Cintra and sees the ever dependable Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio) take over on production duties. And as we’ve come to expect from the band it leaves barely a genre stone unturned, an eclectic mix of reggae, pop, electronica and punk.Horn-fuelled lead single ‘Hangover’ is a reggae tinged delight; anyone who fails to smile at the ‘let’s get happy drinking Bloody Mary, I don’t want to be your sour cherry’ couplet should be ashamed.