- With its catchy hook and stylish luster, it's easy to see why Alex Celler's "La Palma" is shaping up to be one of the season's bigger tracks. Seizing on a gets-stuck-in-your-head vocal sample, Celler has rolled out some polka-dot tech-house beats and swollen, swaying bass, and seasoned it all with live-sounding bursts of exotic percussion. Seemingly singing along to its own tune, it even sounds like summer fun.
Still, given how heavily "La Palma" has been charted, it's tough to shake the "this record—really?" skepticism. "La Palma" leans heavily on the immediacy of its vocal sample, to the point that the chants are the only part of the song I can recall an hour after hearing it. Its limitations are really more general, though. There's something indistinct about this music, a lack of any kind of enveloping, immersive quality. The various personality elements—the filtered chants, the eerie rattles, the off-beat snare hiccups—should add character, should make the track "feel" like an elusive but not completely intangible something. The loose drum flourishes are the closest we get to that, but they have the rather unremarkable effect of conjuring stage hands half-heartedly conducting a pre-concert sound check.
In the end, "La Palma" has an infectious energy, but it's difficult to imagine anyone getting properly lost in the track. Where standout peers like "Nesrib," "Mumbling Yeah," "Galantar" and "Bombero's" at times managed to be genuinely transportive, "La Palma" evokes little more than the image of a smartly-dressed crowd having a fine time. While that's certainly something, it doesn't suggest the kind of shelf life enjoyed by any of the tracks I just mentioned.
There is an included remix as well, which doesn't wander far from the original. DJ Madskillz' terse, agitated reading daringly glosses over the original's most effective feature—the catchy vocals—instead drawing heavily from what's probably the track's dullest section. There's some tomfoolery with effects but, as with the original, they sound frustratingly extraneous and, with the charged chants relegated to the backseat, there's just not much to grab onto.
A La Palma
B La Palma (DJ Madskillz Rmx)