CSS @ Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney (24/01/11)

CSS are no strangers to the stage. Dazzling frontlady Lovefoxxx has herself said in the past that their music was made with only live performances in mind. It may have been a Monday, but as soon as Lovefoxxx appeared, a sea of gold and sequins (her first of many costume changes), yelling ‘Let’s start this motherfucking thing’, the modestly-sized venue felt like a packed out stadium.

After two songs from their very first album, This Month, Day 10, and Off The Hook, CSS had already managed to translate their upbeat synth-pop sound into a cant-help-but-dance atmosphere. It’s always nice to hear a favourite early and Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex did not disappoint. By this stage, Lovefoxx had already stripped down, crowd surfed and spat numerous drinks over the front row – much to their screaming delight. Just a standard Monday night, really.

Under all the sparkles, cartwheels and novelty items (giant inflatable beers for example), lies a simplicity to the music and lyrics of CSS that makes them very accessible, extremely engaging and a lot of fucking fun. Although the synth beats, bass lines and vocals as individual layers are not anything spectacular, when they are punched out together by all six members, it leaves for some pretty intense party tracks.

After making her way once more through the crowd, Lovefoxxx managed to climb on top of the bar, Coyote Ugly style, all the while screeching ‘Do you wanna drink some alcohol?!’, lyrics to the aptly titled Alcohol. There’s nothing too complicated about that, but it was a winner.

The second half of the set saw the crowd treated to some new tracks that landed a much heavier, intense dance sound – presumably an insight to their new album, scheduled for release this year. The drums, bass and electronic beats take a bit step forward on these numbers, to an almost Sleigh Bells level, while the more boppy synth lines simmer into the background. CSS have recently stated that they are taking a more experimental approach to their music and so far, it sounds promising.

Crowd favourite Alala was received with such excitement that Lovefoxxx decided to go for one last crowdsurf, before a hilarious rendition of JLo’s Jenny From The Block.

Overall, CSS are an exceptional band to see live. You cannot help but get caught up in the endearing, hyperactive presence of Lovefoxx that is only helped by her hilarious banter (which is itself obviously helped by a few wines). Don’t take them too seriously and you can’t be disappointed.