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Albums Reviews


Sub Pop
(Three stars)

Sep 09, 2008

They veered between mechanical sloganeering and that sensuous Portuguese whisper, flogged everything from loud punk guitars to electro-funk, even bitched-out Paris Hilton. And they did it all in the style of a gaggle of Burgessian adolescents, which is perfectly normal in CSSland. The band was formed in 2003 by a handful of women and one guy who met at art school in the unlikely rock ‘n’ roll town of Sao Paolo. Moreover, though they got together as a joke (none of them really knew how to play any instruments), it didn’t stop them from snatching a record deal with Sub Pop (Nirvana, Soundgarden) all the way over in Seattle or even from charting four top-100 singles off their eponymous debut. Things have changed since then, and not all in a bad way. If at all, fans will be disappointed, somewhat along the lines of the sadness that comes from having to grow up, that the band have taken the time to actually learn their instruments reasonably well. Donkey has a lot more finesse than one came to expect after its joyously reckless predecessor. But with LV Lovefoxxx singing “We didn’t come into the world to walk around/We came here to take you out” over a thick riff and stabs of fuzz on the first chorus (‘Jager Yoga’), everything else hits where it matters. There’s no break in sight from tight drum-bass interplay (‘Let’s Reggae All Night,’ ‘Believe Achieve’), by turn gritty and annoyingly catchy guitar work of Luiza Sá, Ana Rezende and Carolina Parra (‘Rat is Dead,’ ‘Give Up,’ ‘I Fly’) and sunny keyboard-driven pop (‘Left Behind,’ ‘Move’). One is only left to imagine the force with which they must come across live when the hard hitting ‘How I Became Paranoid’ comes on, combining the above three most forcefully as it does. The album falls a bit flat towards the end owing to the ill-considered inclusion of looser material like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your J Lo’ which give it the impression of being a bit too long. Donkey is, nevertheless, a good generic art punk disc with a distinctive edge and it ensures that Cansei de Ser Sexy remain lords and masters of their own strange, sexy beast.

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