CSS – Donkey

Rating: ★★★★ ·

This album kicks off with “Jager Yoga,” which-in my opinion-could have come off the last record by CSS. It’s got a throbbing bass line, some solid beats, backed by more prominent guitar work. It’s like a continuation, but in that, it kind of prepares you to travel with the band.

Suddenly, the next track brings in some heavy guitar work. This song resembles The Sounds, which bring in the full power of the band, giving them a different route to travel than just the typical dance track. It’s as if they came to rock, to melt faces if you will.

Then they go back to the old pattern with “Reggae All Night,” which kind of takes the album back a step, but sure enough, they bring back out the guitars in “Give Up.” I don’t know if the juxtaposition in songs builds a steady flow for a complete album, but most listeners will see a band with a new purpose.

The next three tracks offer something a little different, something a little aged. “Beautiful Song” and “Move” take the band as close to the eighties as they have been before, and in all honesty, it works for them. You can tell they put a little more focus on the instruments here, still creating rhythms we can all dance too, but without the requirement of blasting the beats in our ears.

“Beautiful Achieve” is a stranger phenomenon than other tracks. They slow it down here, but use the samples and loops that established the band. It’s an interesting touch to this album, throwing in a little variety.

“Air Painter” finally brings it all to a close, but it brings you to a new realization, quite different than the opening track. If I’m not mistaken, The Sounds singer, Maja Ivarrson, makes an appearance. The song is great – hands down, but it does come off a bit like a cover song.

The emphasis for me, and for the reference to that other band, is that this album lets CSS out of the the strict dance routine. Each song is over 3 minutes long, which means the band spent more time writing the songs, and fleshing out the sounds, allowing the songs themselves to carry the beat, rather than the beat carrying the song. I think its an impressive step, even if sounds like some other band did it before  It shows the band stepping out, and stepping up. At this point, there is lots of room for CSS to move towards for their next album, which should be a great one.

This is a good album, especially since it leaves you wanting more from the band in the future. It might not go down in history as their best, but it certainly solidifies them as a band to look out for in the future. Cheers to you Sub Pop Records; just another good release after another.

Check out the single from the album, “The Rad is Dead (Rage)”:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/rat-is-dead-rage.mp3]

Download: rat-is-dead-rage.mp3

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