Multi-instrumentalist and prime CSS composer Adriano Cintra recently unceremoniously cut ties with the band, citing the fact that fame had gone to the rest of the their heads and the fact they couldn’t play their instruments properly as a reason: Harsh words from the outgoing creative force. Cansei De Ser Sexy (reportedly a Beyoncé quote that translates to: “Tired of being sexy,”) – aren’t mourning the loss of Cintra though, his parting words have had little effect. There’s a definite, clear change in direction on their fourth LP but it doesn’t seem to be of any detriment. The now-foursome are excavating new territories in their sound, and eschew the gimmicky neon ADHD-ness and nu-rave/funktronica of previous offerings, instead opting for subtler tropical electronics and lithe filth-pop.
Produced by Mr. Golden Fingers himself, Dave Sitek, Planta nurtures a deeper sound. The bratty sleaze and facetious lyrics are long gone, and now the Brazilian femme fatales exhibit a serious streak in their synthpop. Gone are the jagged coquettish chirrups, CSS now harness the power of adult electronica. It’s a far more laidback record, even through the elements of sincerity, as everything seems to adhere to a newfound fluidity rather than exploding like a glitter-filled piñata – any sawing synthesiser riffs have rounded edges and the guitar licks are sanded down. But that’s not to say they’ve lost their appeal. Perhaps the edge has vanished, but like many bands do a decade into their career – they’re maturing. It’s a shame it took Cintra’s departure to galvanise them into donning growed-up masks, but at least they now own a sound that they won’t cringe at as the hurtle towards/past the big 3-0.
Lead single ‘Hangover’ is accompanied by Mariachi brass stabs and South American rhythms, a bit like the current (fantastic) Doritos advert. It’s a swirling psych-rock cut, the guitars submerged beneath layers of effects and synthetic keys as lead vocalist Lovefoxxx caterwauls discordantly “Let’s get happy drinking Bloody Marys/ I don’t wanna be your sour cherry.” The track is a flimsy metaphor for a breakup, but as far as electro-pop goes, it’s strong. ‘Dynamite’ is similarly bombastic fare, and one of the only moments that gazes to the past. Enormous chugging bass and waspish flutterings of synth mingle with Lovefoxxx’s vocal detritus (there’s lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’).
Largely though, this is a pretty chilled record. ‘The Hangout’ is all glistening synths and off-beat ’60s guitars – it’s almost twee in nature: “I’d like to know… is there any chance you’d take me for a dance?” ‘Honey’ is the antithesis of early CSS – it’s reflective, thorough and the kind of synth-rock that soundtracks comedowns and wasted midnight wanders. Also, Lovefoxxx appears to be attempting to channel Bob Dylan’s signature drawl at times. ‘Into The Sun’ is a giant pop belter. Although the verses seem to be remnants of the Cintra administration, the chorus is a washed-out, sun-bleached anthem for cruising in the summer heat.
The sound they won hearts with was impressive. The apathetic urgency of ‘City Grrrl’ is still flawless. As every act must do to stay relevant, CSS have evolved. They’ve shed the skin of before during the process of Planta, and though it harbours a ‘day after the night before’ sentiment, there’s a strong cathartic strand too – this album is as much about personal revolution for the band as it is about exotic pop charmers. They’ve used the time to come to terms with the loss of Cintra and create a sonic identity beyond his input, and it turns out that they didn’t really need him, and, just maybe, he was stalling their progress.