CSS: Donkey

"Your mouth is stuck to a thousand fags," cheerfully raps the CSS member known as Lovefoxxx at the end of the song called "Jager Yoga." And Donkey is Cansei de Ser Sexy's serious album. No, really — the next song's about spousal abuse. No one really knows what to do with CSS. Not Sub Pop, not Apple, not proponents of, uh, "nu-rave." I guess we're supposed to dance, guiltily. "Let's Reggae All Night" has a nice locked-in squelch to it, but I wish the line I heard as "let's break the bed in half" wasn't actually "break my back in half." Which prompts the question: Does this band even get its own shtick? Why did they call the album Donkey? Why does "Reggae All Night" have nothing to do with reggae? However ill-conceived their tinny beats, swiped hooks — "Rat Is Dead (Rage)" grooves on a chuggy Hives riff — and questionable "fun" quotient, these dance-punk displacements present a tuneful, synth-shined step up from CSS's more annoyingly hit-or-miss debut (which began with a chant called "CSS Suxx"). But the Brazilians' newfound tastefulness comes at a cost: less personality, annoying or not. Maybe they are generic-alt hangers-on. But their bid for a career is at least as good as, say, Santogold's.

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Weiss, Dan