Two years after the release of their third album, La Liberación
, the four remaining female members of CSS
(Cansei de Ser Sexy
) had moved to Los Angeles to work on new music without Adriano Cintra
(for the first time ever). Despite his bitter departure, they’ve met some new and supportive friends along the way, like Dave Sitek
of TV on the Radio
, who has produced their new album, Planta
saw the band adapting to expectations from the underground dance crowds they’d often find themselves performing to, focusing on songs that would work better live in that setting. As a result, it contained mostly upbeat dance-pop tracks that could hold their own on the dance floor, but didn’t seem to have much else to say depth-wise. For the most part, CSS have always seemed to prioritize simple lyrics, intense layering, catchy hooks, quirky off-balance elements, and basically just having fun with it. But with their last release, I started to feel like their often challenging and quirky punk edge was being subdued in favor of a more traditionally safe pop sound.
They’ve found a way to balance the best of both worlds with Planta
, focusing less on stand-alone dance tracks and more on the song structure and album flow as a whole. The lyrics are pretty simple (sometimes even a tad ridiculous), but this band expresses their vocals most creatively in how they are sung and arranged, producing an infectious and strong sense of aural intrigue for the listener. There are many examples of this throughout, perhaps the most notable of which is in “Teenage Tiger Cat,” (written about Sitek’s kitty), where Lovefoxxx
sings “I’m getting rowdy, rowdy, woo-oo-oo/rowdy, rowdy, ROARRRR.” This expressive lyrical bite, in addition to the other vocals, makes the song incredibly sexy, adorable, and fun. I was surprised to find out that single “Hangover” was co-written by Rancid
’s Tim Armstrong
, who was interested in collaborating with them. And Gossip
’s Hannah Blilie
plays the drums on “Dynamite.” There’s definitely more of a punk/ska/reggae vibe throughout this album, particularly on tracks like “The Hangout,” and it’s always great to hear this come through in their music. Many of the synth sequences, especially towards the end of “Into the Sun,” are some of the best I’ve heard from them and I can’t get enough of it. Planta
is tastefully done and I hope CSS continue to grow in this direction.
CSS will be performing at Union Transfer
on July 2nd.