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CSS - Cansei de Ser Sexy

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Artist: CSS

Album: Cansei de Ser Sexy

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Jul. 4, 2006

Insouciant, deliberately offensive, sexy and ephemeral, Cansei de Ser Sexy is a pretty girl flipping you the bird over her shoulder, daring you to call her on it as she sashays out of your life. And forget about gender-bending the metaphor, because a girl yelling out "Suck, suck, suck my art hole," in cheerleader cadences is a whole 'nother thing than it would be with a guy at the mic. (It's less of a threat and more of an offer, for one thing.) Brash to the point of don't-give-a-fuck, cuter than Peaches but just as scatological, these five girls and one boy from Sao Paulo subvert disco beats into sardonic anti-anthems about sex and shallowness, sex and art world pretense, sex and music and, well, more sex.

The disc opens with the heavy four-on-the-floor beat and the boom tsssaap cymbal pulse of classic disco. "C-S-S Suxxx! C-S-S Suxx!" comes the rah-rah yell, a statement of intent if there ever were one. No one is to take any of this seriously, that's for sure, even when mirror ball rhythms give way to the robot funk synths of "Alala,” which will take you right back to the Human League and Thomas Dolby days of MTV. "Lets Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" cuts right back to disco with its percolating "Popcorn" synth and machine-generated dance beat. There's an interesting combination of little girl catch and new wave hauteur in Lovefoxxx's voice – she sounds like a 12-year-old Deborah Harry circa "Rapture" as she monotones the words.

Cansei de Ser Sexy is a bitchy guilty pleasure, on the level of listening to the cool girls dissect other people's clothes choices, and the band reserves its purest vitriol for art world poseurs. "Art Bitch" is a spitting, cat-fighting send-up of a gallery climber. ("I sell paintings to the men I eat / I have an art portfolio / And I only show where there's free alcohol.") But there's plenty left for Paris Hilton and some hapless guy who calls on the phone in "This Month, Day 10." "If someday we get to meet again / In a car crash, train wreck or terrorist attack / Or maybe next Thursday night / Don't even bother saying hi," goes Lovefoxxx's kiss-off. "I'll be rude / I'll be rude / So rude."

The standout by far is "Off the Hook," whose slash-stop guitars and cross chanted vocals are reminiscent of Delta 5. It's followed by the wonderfully bubblegum "Alcohol," buoyed aloft by a circus exuberance. And then there's "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex," with its sinister synth beat and nervous disco-funk guitars, where Lovefoxx reiterates exactly what music is to her ("Music is my boyfriend / Music is my girlfriend / Music is where / I'd like you to touch."). If it weren't all so much fun, CSS would be really objectionable. But if it wasn't so objectionable, it certainly wouldn't be this much fun.

By Jennifer Kelly

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