Cansei de Ser Sexy
Cansei de Ser Sexy
2005
B+



taking in elements of electro-rock, 80’s pop and indie and dropping in loads of pop culture references, Death from Above 1979, and Paris Hilton to name just a few, Cansei de Ser Sexy (Tired of Being Sexy) have managed to create a modern Brazilian pop album that is perhaps one of the few that can have an actual international impact. The fact that they have been touted to Malcolm McLaren doesn’t hurt their reputation either or the fact that a certain Mr. Simon Reynolds was making agreeable noises during their live show at his stay in São Paulo last year.

The group consist of five girls and one male drummer, Adriano Cintra, who does a fine job in also producing the album. Cintra, who previously played with energetic John Spencer wannabes Thee Butchers Orchestra, was perhaps the catalyst behind the band moving on from their amateur beginnings, using a show supporting 2 Many DJs to encourage them to take their music making more seriously. Following the show, they then made their name on the Trama label’s Tramavirtual site, a free download site with literally thousands of bands and over 35,000 free downloads.

Strong songs have to support the hype and single “Off the Hook” fits the bill with its seventeen-year-old pop-obsessed girls singing The Breeders vibe. Throughout the CD a common sonic thread dominates, chirpy up-tempo drumming, naïve simple synth lines and choppy guitars, delivered with a drive and great sing-along choruses—a formula not a million miles from early Blondie. For example, who can resist singing such choruses as “Hey hey hey hey / Do you want to drink some alcohol” (Alcohol) or “ The bitch said / Yeah yeah yeah” (Meeting Paris Hilton) or even better that damning critique of the art world “I am an art-bitch / I sell my paintings to the men I eat / I have no portfolio cuz I only show where there's free alcohol” (Art Bitch). You may think I’m mocking, but in the context of the songs they actually work quite well.

And, frankly, I have a soft spot for songs with titles like “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” and “Fuck Off is not the Only Thing You Have to Show,”although to be honest I’m still not sure what the latter means.

The album highlight and potential mega-radio hit (but certainly not on the conservatively programmed airwaves of Brazil) must be “Music is My Hot Sex,” though. This riffy, funky pop monster is perhaps a microcosm of São Paulo itself, being equally at ease with its English chorus and Portuguese rap, revealing the strident pride of being Brazilian and even more of being a Paulista (from Sãp Paulo—Rio’s uglier and unwieldy but more cosmopolitan cousin), but at the same time embracing foreign cultures and more importantly other metropolitan trends.

Lots of handclaps, woo woo backing vocals, and laughs amid funny observations about contemporary urban hipster life reveal an assured and charming debut. It would be interesting to see what Mr. McLaren would do with this lot, but then again looking at his current success rate, perhaps not.


Reviewed by: Andy Cumming
Reviewed on: 2006-01-23
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