Home – CSS/Io Echo: July 6, 2013 in Cambridge

– CSS/Io Echo: July 6, 2013 in Cambridge

Boxx Magazine | CSS/Io Echo: July 6, 2013 in Cambridge

Monday 15th July 2013,


CSS/Io Echo: July 6, 2013 in Cambridge

Boxx Magazine July 10, 2013 No Comments


IO Echo

By Chelsea Spear

An audience of diverse ages, races, sexual orientations and hair colors found their way to a club outside of Boston on a sweltering July night. Before the opening act took the stage, the PA pumped out a mix tape that shed some light on the headliners’ influences: lots of early Prince and Michael Jackson, ‘90s girl jamz by Mariah Carey and TLC, “Typical Girls” by the Slits. Without even stepping before the footlights, dance pop quartet CSS’ spirit of eclecticism was in full flower.

For the past decade, CSS have released a series of albums that jump genres and chronicle the experiences of feminist-leaning girls. If you like clattering beats, heavy grooves, girl-group vocals, sing-a-long choruses and sassy lyrics, this is the band for you.

CSS’ synth- and drum machine-happy sound might suggest that the band works best in the controlled environment of a studio. If there was any trepidation that their live show might not live up to the frothy fun of their LPs, it was alleviated after witnessing their sense of spontaneity and fun that elevated their live set. Lead singer Lovefoxxx gamboled un-self-consciously before a wind machine, busting out belly dance moves and flirting with an enthusiastic, vaguely Billy Idol-esque fan in the front row. Though her hip-swiveling and onstage costume changes might seem sexy on paper, her girlish stage presence and dowdy outfits de-emphasized the seductiveness and elevated the silliness.

The live setting also put the focus on the band’s strong musical ability and chemistry with interlocking arrangements that brought attention to a strong musical bond. Guitarist Ana Rezende mimicked various instruments on her guitar, with the steel drum-influenced solo on “Hangover” showing off her chops. The percussive synth parts sweetened the band’s trebly melodies, and the thick, melodic bass grooves kept the songs grounded.

Opening act Io Echo created a dense, tuneful sound that picked up where pre-Nirvana college radio left off. Lead singer Ionna Gika sang in a sinuous, reedy mezzo, and her billowing onstage garb and connection with the audience gave her the air of an indie rock shaman. The live mix left the band with a slightly murky sound, but the aspects of their sound that did cut through the haze were strong enough to get many to buy the album. Fans of Bosnian Rainbows and Siouxsie and the Banshees will definitely want to check IO Echo out.

Cover photo by Mariana Juliano

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