Posted on July 22nd, 2008 (12:00 am) by Derek Duoba

You have to wonder what a band was thinking when they release an album with tracks that could all be confused for the same song. CSS’s sophomore effort, Donkey, sounds uninspired throughout with overused synths and bland guitar riffs. Although it is clearly a pop record and nothing more, the hooks used in Donkey just don’t feel as fresh as they should; for instance, the opening track, “Jager Yoga” may have been interesting had it been released during the late 90s, but today it falls flat on its face in comparison to acts such as Hot Chip and The Faint.

Lyrically, Donkey does not present anything even mildly interesting. Predictably, most of Matsushita’s (or Lovefoxxx as she is better known) lyrics relate to the electro-dance music that her band plays. However, the album finds itself so riddled with clichés that most will find it laughable for all the wrong reasons. The song “Let’s Reggae All Night” portrays this perfectly with its heavy use of overplayed Rasta stereotypes. Furthermore, the song has nothing to do with the Reggae style of music.

The best song on the record, Give Up, is an electro-ballad that Matsushita presumably wrote to her fiancée, Simon Taylor-Davis (of indie-electro band Klaxons). Its reasonably varied in structure, and interesting enough to warrant a few listens. Even at that, it would be a stretch to call this song thematically original.

Speaking of originality, Donkey draws heavy influences from 80s synth-pop outfits. The main riff from the song “Move” sounds rather like Men at Work’s “Land Down Under” although, once again, CSS does not manage instill anything interesting in it. Unfortunately, unoriginality plagues Donkey throughout nearly every track. Of course, some bands can get away with using tired and true song structures, but the difference between those bands and CSS is that they produce something that is interesting to listen to. As a sub-genre dance-pop has seen countless changes since its introduction, but CSS’s new album does not even try to come up with something new.

In reality, Donkey is nothing more than a forgettable pop record, with songs that may have sounded new and refreshing in 1998 rather than 2008.

Track List:

1. "Jager Yoga" (Adriano Cintra/Ana Rezende dos Anjos/Carolina Parra/Luiza Sá/Lovefoxxx) — 3:49
2. "Rat is Dead (Rage)" (Adriano Cintra) — 3:19
3. "Let's Reggae All Night" (Adriano Cintra/Lovefoxxx) — 3:54
4. "Give Up" (Adriano Cintra/Luiza Sá) — 3:21
5. "Left Behind" (Adriano Cintra) — 3:31
6. "Beautiful Song" (Adriano Cintra/Lovefoxxx) — 3:28
7. "How I Became Paranoid" (Adriano Cintra) — 3:26
8. "Move" (Adriano Cintra/Luiza Sá/Lovefoxxx) — 3:53
9. "I Fly" (Adriano Cintra) — 3:17
10. "Believe Achieve" (Adriano Cintra/Lovefoxxx) — 3:36
11. "Air Painter" (Adriano Cintra/Lovefoxxx) — 3:48

CSS, Donkey, Album
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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50 / 100
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