Paco Sala are a duo comprised of Anthony Harrison, who also records spiraling synth music as Konntinent, and a lady named Leyli, who sings. A little cursory research reveals that Harrison, at least, comes from London, but for the last couple weeks I've been going around telling people they're from Texas. Why Texas? I'm not so sure. Ro-Me-Ro, their second official release (and first featuring Leyli), does bear some resemblance to Austin's Sleep 8 Over—but it probably has more to do with how perfectly the record pulls off a sense of rootlessness. Like the best ethereal acts, they sound like they could come from anywhere.
Over the last few years myriad acts have tried to shroud themselves in occult symbolism and unpronounceable names that are just rows of crosses, a trend that's traceable, at least in part, to Salem's FuCKT LP. While that group has since delved into more overdriven territory, there's something of that album in Ro-Me-Ro, between its skittering, scattered hip-hop rhythms and the pervading sense of tender, fragile isolationism. However, this is merely a point of comparison. It would be a disservice to lump Paco Sala in with Salem's legions of followers; Ro-Me-Ro is thoroughly serious and unique, and more than coherent enough to stand up without tacked-on signifiers.
Much of that coherence is owed to its flatness. It's a brittle collection, marked not by songs but rather by a cocoon-like procession of variations on the same detached, opiated mood, as Harrison deploys an arsenal of dissociative synths and splintered, echoing guitar. "Spiral" feels positively weightless; above thick subs, Harrison shifts from sparse steel drums and surfy strums to an overwhelming, diving terror where elements appear to escalate and plummet at the same time. Leyli doesn't appear on every track, but when she does, her voice is typically a breathy, unintelligible coo, a complement to Harrison's stumbling arrangements. When she manages to break out of that mode, she's particularly astonishing—on the penultimate track "Earn Your Stripe," after a full record of near-submergence, she's startlingly up close in the mix. She slides from a disarmingly delivered, "this is pure happiness" to gentle despair: "we had nowhere to run —we were in the wrong place at the wrong time." For being the album's few intelligible lines, they speak volumes about its freefloating, sleepwalking indecisiveness.
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Tracklist: Paco Sala - Ro-Me-Ro 01. Dumb Truths
02. Gifts Of The Bloom
03. Rosa Damascena
04. Blank Legend
06. Tres Future First
07. Legacy Edition
09. Earn Your Stripe
10. A Home For Paco Sala
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