Co La is the solo project of Matthew Papich, a member of the Baltimore experimental group Ecstatic Sunshine. That band's cache in underground circles seems in part responsible for the hyperbole surrounding Daydream Repeater, his fourth record (and third LP) this year, and first for post-whatever label du jour NNA Tapes. Daydream Repeater is rooted in a synthesis of certain eras—the Bryan Ferry and Compass Point Studios end of moneyed New Wave, vintage Jamaican dub/rocksteady and late '50s and early '60s US chart pop. Moments where style and restraint bled out of the music and into its presentation, and vice versa.
Papich is essentially a collagist, and all of his tracks feature samples—often highly recognizable ones—front and center. Although he adds bass heft and a palpable digital sheen, much of the LP's atmosphere is directly derived from those aforementioned sounds. As a result, Daydream Repeater can feel detached and almost artificial. It's like a record about listening to records.
As derisive as that may read, it has little bearing on the quality of the songs, which smartly don't bother to recreate the genres they sample. "Wanna Say Faux" transforms The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" into a breaky workout, splicing two hiccuping chipmunk vocals so it sounds like they're repeating "forever." It recalls Teengirl Fantasy's "Hoop Dreams" in its repurposing of classic pop for more energetic ends. Elsewhere, "Burning One in Stockholm" pairs stretched, elegiac echoes with a booming dub bassline, and "Smooth Solidarity" uses a similar low-end emphasis as a backdrop for pitchshifting the phrase "we are the music makers." The bouncily euphoric "Egyptian Peaches" cultivates the Jamaican influence for the album's hookiest entry, with a yelped, slightly goofy vocal that melds with a flowing, flashy sax solo.
Papich wears his influences on his sleeve, but his loping, cut-up structures are a far cry from the elegant drift of say, Grace Jones, whose angular slinker "My Jamaican Guy" forms the basis of "My Jamaican." Daydream Repeater is about an entirely different sort of breeziness. It's a bit like an imagined hodgepodge view of the pristine tropics, like plastic palm trees, or drinking at a tiki bar in the middle of a snowstorm.
Buy Co La - Daydream Repeater at
Tracklist: Co La - Daydream Repeater A1 Cocktail
A2 Vanity Plate
A3 Wanna Say Faux
A4 Turned Twice
A5 Burning One In Stockholm
B1 Smooth Solidarity
B2 Egyptian Peaches
B3 Belgian Pillow
B4 My Jamaican
B5 Siamese In Greece