The unusual lead single “Suffering (Tuesday)” makes one curious about the entire album. Vocal samples, machine guns, crashes, a horn, a dog and an alarm are shoehorned into a percussive, upbeat track that seems to change suffering into something celebratory, even fun. Co La (Matt Papich) calls this “simple inversion”; the album art also seems to reflect this phrase, as one “no” becomes “on.”
Papich’s subject matter is the 24-hour news cycle, a relatively modern phenomena that produces everything from fascination to disdain. A recent example: the statistical revelation that murder rates have increased in four American states. Panic! Fear! Dismay! But wait ~ has anyone stopped to count the states? In the other 46 states, the murder rates have decreased or remained stable. The news is what we make of it, and Papich makes it a source of samples and subsequent humor. Guttural exhalations, safety triggers, clown sounds and funky bass inhabit the opening track, which is only an overture; a throat clearing and the words “to be continued” topple into squeaky toys in the opening of the subsequent piece.
What is Co La trying to say? It may be that the news is not really the news; the alternating yawns and screams of “Shrink” are their own commentary. It may also be that the world is neither as dangerous nor as somber as we make it out to be. The t-shirt company Life Is Good was founded in response to the same media stimuli. While listening to “No No” (implying both a mistake and a protest), it’s nearly impossible to feel that life is bad, despite the presence of so many violent sounds. The frequent use of children’s toys hammers the point home, as children are by nature violent, yet few people are afraid of them (unless they run through the corn with sickles, which is not the case here). Most of the tracks are funky enough for clubs, another simple inversion: we’ll laugh ’til it hurts and dance ’til we die.
The artist is clearly having a ball, hitting and/or sampling whatever he can find. But the light nature of the album hides a serious point: that our perceptions are shaped by our senses. Only by challenging the data inputs can we arrive at a more accurate picture of the world around us: a reasonable idea of threat and a reasonable amount of joy. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 9 October