REVIEW: CSS – La Liberacion
I consider myself a professional procrastinator but I also guilt myself a lot. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve been putting off reviewing this for over a week blaming ‘upcoming school’ and the like. Heck, right now I’m procrastinating cleaning the dishes. I got halfway through putting them away. BUT ALAS– inspiration strikes at inopportune moments.
Many, many, MANY years ago (maybe three) CSS‘ “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” appeared on an iPod commercial. It was a big deal– those commercials were great. You probably haven’t heard of them since. Rest assured they’ve remained a bit below the radar…and by radar I mean ‘Equator’. They’re from Brazil.
CSS isn’t music that everyone likes. I know people (“who?” “Just…people”) who would do without this techno-pop stuff altogether. I know some that would eat this up. The problem I have with this album is that despite its coherence it’s nothing special. One thing I tend to find with albums like La Liberacion is the tendency for all the songs to start running together becoming one blur of sound. La Liberacion actually finds a fine balance between hype-driven lyrics and tunes and that ‘grindy’ techno sound you hear in old Sega Genesis games. And like I said, it’s got coherence working for it. By this I mean that the songs work well in their sequence and in their own individual ways. The first track, “I Love You”, is not one of these. The proceeding three songs are. In fact, although “City Grrl” plods along to its “Sonic the Hedgehog” backing track, things don’t seem to be too unstable and cluttered.
It’s hard not to see the tropical Sao Paolo influence in some of these songs (like “Echo of Love”) and it only adds to the good flavour of the album; other songs like “You Could Have It All” are a bit too light for my tastes. There’s a pretty blatant dichotomy and it really depends on whether or not you like their style (which is probably the least helpful statement I could make in trying to persuade you to listen to the CD or not– listen to it. I’m not stopping you.)
The title track, “La Liberacion”, sounds like something rejected by The Go! Team for a lack of marching band instruments. It’s peppy and upbeat and comes with rally cheers to boot. It contrasts a great deal with “Partners in Crime”, a much deeper song with a relaxing beat and smooth piano. The wind-up of the album, the last few songs, don’t do anything new– this is where the CD runs out of steam (it happens at about “Ruby Eyes”).
Is La Liberacion a bad album? Well, no. This is one of those releases that’s not to everyone’s tastes, like I’ve noted already. I can’t sit back and say that the album has no positive qualities – it really does – it’s just nowhere near as infectious as other variations within the same genre. CSS seems to have found their hybrid genre of choice and it’s up to you if you dig it enough to take a listen.