Album: CSS, Donkey (Sub Pop)

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The Independent Culture

A frustrating follow-up, Donkey sacrifices the plucky amateurism of CSS's 2006 debut Cansei De Ser Sexy for a sleeker approach, but loses much of the guileless enthusiasm at the root of the Brazilian band's appeal.

Lyrical references to places like Amsterdam and Helsinki indicate the new jet-set sophistication that has smoothed away the rough edges, leaving them less like X-Ray Spex and more like a generic new-wave electropop group – akin to New Order on the inaptly titled "Beautiful Song", but more often evoking the spindly-indie etiolated funk of Tom Tom Club on tracks such as "Move" and the equally inaptly titled "Reggae All Night".

Only "Left Behind" offers much by way of a catchy melody, while tracks as disparate as the brittle indie-dance "Give Up" and strutting rocker "Jager Yoga" progress with dutiful, mechanistic stiffness. It's only when a brief burst of unruly guitar interrupts the polite progress of "Believe Achieve" that one realises just how orderly and mannered the rest of the album is.

Pick of the album:'Left Behind', 'Believe Achieve'

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