Brazilian party rockers CSS may have become more sophisticated on its second album, but that doesn't mean the group has grown up.
Although the band's latest record, "Donkey," features much of the same funky energy and lyrical debauchery as its predecessor (the band's self-titled debut), it proves to be a superior album. The songs are more tightly focused and more deliberately arranged, resulting in an equally fun but more polished album.
The two best songs on "Donkey" embody the band's improved songcrafting. "Beautiful Song" employs a relaxed tempo and male backing vocals that provide a nice contrast to singer Lovefoxx.
Meanwhile, the synth-driven "How I Became Paranoid" is the best rocker of the album.
CSS, which is best known for the song "Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex," which was featured in an iPod commercial, have a great weapon in the form of lead singer Lovefoxx. Her breathy, lightly accented purr is alluring and sweet. She's the center of attention on an album full of energy and spunk.
The brashness that CSS (short for Cansei de Ser Sexy, or "tired of being sexy") demonstrates on "Donkey" is half the fun of listening to the album. It's all about attitude. The group presents itself as a group of fun-loving art punks who exude effortless cool.
Yet "Donkey" is a refreshing bit of unpretentious fun and a treat from a band that could have petered out after its debut.
--Dan Miller, Weekend (Dec. 19, 2008)