The Null Device

Donkey

The Graun's Alexis Petridis is unimpressed with the new CSS album, finding that the formerly chaotic Brazilian band has turned into an inoffensively generic commercial-indie-by-numbers act, its former appealing oddness—and indecorous language—ruthlessly eradicated in the pursuit of homogeneity:
Often, Donkey sounds like someone has tracked down the anonymous session musicians who spent the 1970s knocking out polite covers of chart hits for budget-priced Top of the Pops compilation albums and got them to have a stab at replicating CSS's sound. It couldn't seem less incongruous than when flashes of the old sharp CSS attitude occasionally appear on the album, marooned over their new rounded-off sound. "I'm gonna drink 'til I pass out, I'm gonna jump on the table and dance my ass off 'til I die," sings Lovefoxxx on Left Behind, sounding more like a woman who's already got her dressing gown on and is checking the Sky+ programme planner to see what time Midsomer Murders starts.
Perhaps it has something to do with the way CSS have been received, particularly in the UK. As with Björk, despite the critical plaudits and high rankings on style mag cool lists, there's a touch of Clive James chuckling affectionately at the Japanese on Endurance about people's reaction to CSS: look at the crazy foreigners with their funny clothes and pidgin English song titles. You get the sense that the band's members occasionally feel they're being patronised. Shortly before her recent departure from the band, bassist Ira Trevisan told one journalist she was sick of being asked about their "Brazilian heritage", adding: "It would be good if we were Belgian." There's a sentence you don't hear every day. Maybe the idea is to prove they have more in common with their European peers than they do with their native forebears, to make music to which no one could append the word "wacky", but it's hard not to feel that becoming as boring as your average British indie band is a pretty extreme way of avoiding the odd question about Tropicalia.

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