Slick but sterile second album from the Sao Paolistas

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CSS – Donkey

CSS‘s 2006 debut magically managed to capture the deliriously ramshackle atmosphere of the Sao Paolo arty-party scene they emerged from. Two years of constant touring, countless festivals, a loss of a member (bassplayer Ira) and the addition of Gwen Stefani‘s producer, and something’s gone awry.

Throughout the whole nu-rave hoopla, the band always insisted they were essentially indie rock kids, which the Pixies twang of lead single “Rat Is Dead” confirms. The track is animated by a livid sense of vengeance, but elsewhere, on “Reggae All Night” and “Believe Achieve” the band sound oddly lifeless, going through the motions of fun. Only “I Fly” – a dream of taking insect wing to buzz around, stalking your lover – retains much of their old infectious insanity.

STEPHEN TROUSSÉ