CSS – La Liberacion

written by: September 13, 2011
Release Date: August 23, 2011


In La Liberación, CSS sound as though they’re rationing out their talent to stay afloat. Fun and poppy is expected for the Brazilian quintet, but the album lacks newness or excitement. As the group’s third release,  La Liberación holds true to the CSS electronic sound — alternative dance music with synthesizers and flighty lyrics in tow.

CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy, which is Portuguese for “tired of being sexy”) have a thirst for partying that is reflected in the music. Their inherent high-energy, party lifestyle is embodied not only in their bouncy beats, but also through their lyrics.

When CSS released their first studio album, Cansei de Ser Sexy (2006), listeners got an alarming taste of what one can only assume was the sweet sound of early South American hipster, new-rave discotheques. The second release, Donkey, came along reiterating that sound — cantankerous, in-your-face lyrics and all. And with this third effort, the wow factor is still weak. We get it, CSS, you are fearless and you like to rock all night. What else have you got?

La Liberación does have a few refreshing sounds, embellished by a reggae beat, which is especially exemplified in its first single, “Hits Me Like a Rock.” Perhaps CSS is using the single as a good marketing tool and selling point for the rest of the album. Because of the reggae addition, the song deviates from the familiar indie-electro sounds of past albums; it’s one of their more eclectic tunes.

La Liberación opens with “I Love You,” which is probably the most quintessential CSS song on the album with a steady, dancy drum beat and synthesizer. “I thought I was a traffic light/You always see me there but never realize/And like a car crash, you change my scene/You bumped into me, and now my light is always green.” And no love song, of course, is complete without a cowbell clanking around in the background.

To mix things up, the band has some outside help on a handful of songs (“Hit Me Like a Rock” features Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream; “City Grrl,” Ssion; “Partners in Crime,” Mile Garson; and “Red Alert,” Ratatat). “Partners in Crime” is the closest thing to a ballad on the whole album. Garson’s contributing piano work is a stark contrast to CSS’s normal tempo. But they make the collaboration work well.

If more songs were like this one, the album would have more depth and substance. To credit CSS, “You Could Have It All,” also employs a substantial balance of piano and guitar. If their synthesizer-to-stringed instrument ratio were any lower, we wouldn’t recognize CSS’s music.

Ratatat’s influence is immediately evident on “Red Alert.” Since La Liberación, as a whole, lacks cutting-edge sounds, it helps to bring on other artists to help the album’s appeal. The song opens with keyboards, a slower beat and a lot of bass. The song’s tempo is more somber, and the overall tone is darker than any other tunes on the album. Also, lead vocalist Lovefoxxx raps the lyrics more so than sings them.

A third album for any band is tough. Groups are tasked with either reinventing themselves or putting a new spin on an already worthwhile sound. As for CSS and La Liberación, however, they’ve done a decent job of polishing a sound they’ve proved can draw an audience.

CSS – La Liberación Tracklist:

  1. “I Love You”
  2. “Hits Me Like a Rock”
  3. “City Grrl”
  4. “Echo of Love”
  5. “You Could Have It All”
  6. “La Liberación”
  7. “Partners in Crime”
  8. “Ruby Eyes”
  9.  “Rhythm to the Rebels”
  10. “Red Alert”
  11. “Fuck Everything”