CSS

Donkey

[4.5/5]

Although CSS returned to their native Brazil to record their sophomore effort, the hot-pink pop of Donkey has everything to do with spunky American Top 40 and Swedish rock. The soul-funk swerve “Move” sounds like the soundtrack to a cheesy ’80s workout video, “Air Painter” may as well be a Sounds outtake and the new-wave chug “Rat Is Dead (Rage)” is Avril Lavigne for hipsters. Though such pop gloss ruins many indie acts, it fits CSS as snugly as vocalist Lovefoxx’s Lycra stagewear. Credit the mixing talents of Mark “Spike” Stent (Madonna, Björk, M.I.A), who streamlines the band’s jagged beats and guitars without sucking out their personality. “Give Up” resembles Sleater-Kinney jump-roping with the Go-Go’s, “Jager Yoga” is a fired-up electro-rock windmill-kick and the synth-pop highlight “Left Behind” manages to be both melancholy and a party jam. (SUB POP) Annie Zaleski