Friday, July 18, 2008

CSS @ iTunes Festival (KOKO 16/07/08)

The excellent iTunes festival is back, and this time around in Camden’s Koko. I have taken a strong dislike to this venue and prefer last years ICA. Koko seems to be built in height rather than depth and I had to climb to the very top floor – the VIP area, I’ll have you know – to get a clear, if slightly vertical, view of CSS. Support came from chirpy Danes Alphabeat - ones to watch!

The Brazilians were in town to promote their new Donkey album but seemed a bit tired of it all. I’m not surprised though; CSS hasn’t had a quiet moment since the release of 2006’s Cansei de ser Sexy. I don’t think there’s a festival on Mother Earth that hasn’t been graced by CSS. Twice.

But in her traditional cat suit, Lovefoxxx made the show worthwhile. She’s truly a great performer - what I like about her is that she doesn’t look or behave like a pretentious pop star. Her intricate dance moves (but perhaps not her dramatic poses) look natural instead of rehearsed. And by dropping her microphone and almost slipping, she comes across as a normal and ordinary person, just like you and me.

Musically, CSS have a lot to live up t. Their debut album was full of excellent songs and, naturally, it was these that the audience craved. Off The Hook, Alala and, especially, Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above are all pedigree pop songs. Donkey is a heavier, darker and deeper album but single Left Behind is a stomper and a few other tracks stand out as potential festival favourites.

But with the album just about to hit the shelves it seems CSS just needs a rest. Expect for Lovefoxxx’s endless energy, the rest of the band was pretty lame. The drummer, drafted from defunct Cooper Temple Clause, was eager and made a pounding impression.

There is no doubt CSS are good. Their disco punk sums up everything I love about music.; happy, danceable guitar melodies with frantic drum/bass beat underneath. Positive attitude, personality and rhythm. Go Brazil! Viva la CSS! Carpe diem! And so on. But maybe they should have taken a proper break and come back with another happy go lucky album. We have enough Radioheads…

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