La Liberacion CD
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La Liberación [Explicit]
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DISC 11. I LOVE YOU2. HITS ME LIKE A ROCK3. CITY GRRL4. ECHO OF LOVE5. YOU COULD HAVE IT ALL6. LA LIBERACION7. PARTNERS IN CRIME8. RUBY EYES9. RHYTHM TO THE REBELS10. RED ALERT11. FUCK EVERYTHING
São Paulo's CSS are back after a three-year break with La Liberación, a third album which attempts to address the criticisms faced by their previous two. Their self-titled debut - released back in 2006 - was firmly positioned as a posturing throwaway, all sweary and light; 2008's newly-sober but somewhat weary Donkey, though, stripped CSS of their fun and outsider-ness. Here, the five-piece reclaim their sense of enjoyment and attempt to broaden their sound - but the sprawling experimentation of La Liberación isn't quite the best recovery strategy.
The 11-track set sees front-girl Lovefoxxx return to a brighter stomping ground, leading an overly eccentric CSS through the suburbs and out into the city. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's the premise their music's always been centred on; but here it attempts to push further forward, into a vulnerable mix that's more mature than their minor 2006 hit Alala and similar tracks' alternating mix of fragmented words and musical shards.
Lyrically, the sentiments throughout La Liberación come over as little better than inexperienced teenage emoting. The sincerity of break-up song You Could Have It All wilts into blandness, while the eccentric character in City Girl feels so over-trodden that they're contrite. Ideas run dry right at the beginning, with I Love You rather too Bridget Jones for its own good, and later on Ruby Eyes is an ode to spliffs not nearly interesting enough to merit its creation.
CSS's attempt at stretching their sound deserves some praise, but their success is limited. An unsuspecting venture into jaunty reggae, Hits Me Like a Rock - an unlikely duet with Bobby Gillespie - is a summery treat, all nimble and light. Echo of Love sounds like XTC doing the conga, while the title-track's flighty two minutes sit in welcome contrast to its heft - "La Liberación" translates as "the women's liberation movement". On a less positive note, Partners in Crime sounds messy, and the effortless grunge of Rhythm to the Rebels fails to engage.
The experimentation here feels too concerned with that popular idiom of creating something for everyone, and the album as a whole suffers for its restlessness. La Liberación is so fixated on exhibiting its sense of fun that it forgets how to finish ideas in the process. And despite the vigour and intensity that CSS have aimed for, it's hard to see their dancey bungle coming anywhere close to the efforts of Sleigh Bells, Marina Gasolina and New Young Pony Club.
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Top customer reviews
is their third album and it's a cracker! (2006's 'CSS' and 2008's 'Donkey'
are well worth becoming familiar with too). That it should appear so late
in the Summer is a bit of a shame because this truly is sunshine music and
could easily have slipped into this year's seaside soundtrack but better late
than never. There's always room for a little extra sunshine in the world.
There are eleven tracks in the set and although, truth-be-told, it's
pretty undemanding stuff the tunes are strong and the beats are hot
and in Lovefoxx (really!) they have an energetic and feisty front-woman.
The electro-pop formula is dance-friendly and the foursquare arrangements,
with occasional brass interventions, glisten and glide amicably and (moreover)
it's fun. For my money it is their most confident and enjoyable realease so-far.
The mood is unremittingly upbeat; you could put it on at a party and keep the
room bouncing nicely all night. The spirit of Tom Tom Club (rest in peace) is
alive and well on 'Hits Me Like A Rock' and 'Red Alert' and nothing wrong with
that. Opening track 'I Love You' has a nice rocky edge - a real stomper and
'Echo Of Love' allows itself a little more light and shade and sports
Ms Lovefoxx's most spirited vocal performance. The biggest surprise comes
with 'Partners In Crime' which is blessed with the presence of legendary
American pianist Mike Garson (think Mr Bowie's 'Alladin Sane'). His typically
jagged solo adds gravitas and excitement to one of the album's finest songs.
All-in-all 'La Liberacion' is a credible and creditable recording which will
doubtless and deservedly bring CSS's music to the attention of a wider audience.
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