Champagne Superchillin

Somewhere between consciousness and the warm bath of sleep, life loses its mystery and dissonance. Here, enigmas untangle themselves, and conflicts melt like ice cream bars against our hot skulls; here, our dreams spin to life, strange and profound — frightening — to waltz with us, to lay down with us, to egg us on. This is the allure of sleep — not it’s restful slumber, not it’s offer of serenity, but the seductive intersection where our exhausted brains refuse to differentiate between reality and fantasy.

Though there’s nothing in waking life that resembles this intersection, art has always come close — in paintings and photographs that haunt us after we walk away, in dances and performances that impel us to move with them, in music that swirls sentient our psyche. Take Champagne Superchilliin’, whose warped, meandering melodies and detached temperament conjures happenings both esoteric and exotic into which the listener might stumble and fall forever.

Beach Deep, the follow-up full-length to the band’s 2017 debut Destino!, is, indeed, an album of dreams — a string of moments and conversations, pearls and teeth. “Gipsy Ferrari” is a drive through a dirty city recently washed by rain, while “Amor Fati” is a quick cigarette between dances in a 1960s jazz club. Singer Juliette Buchs’s voice is breathy and tiny and hushed on “Armée Du Salut;” she phases in and out, an apparition passing between walls of surf chords and wormy bass, each syllable mysterious and important in her native French. Charlie Garmendia’s drums are distant here and behind oscillating synthesizers on “La Pudeur.” But, on songs like “Rosa Canina,” where Buchs’ voice staggers tipsy and Ben Trimble’s leads spiral into space, where beat and time is forsaken, it’s Garmendia’s loyal beat that steers the song back into its itchy boogie.

Recorded in living rooms in Plouézec, France; Nashville, TN; and the Rockaways in Queens, its no wonder that Beach Deep is so cinematic, sweeping listeners from scene to palpable scene, and its no wonder, given these sudden shifts, that Champagne Superchillin’s songs feel so etherial, so surreal, so dreamlike. Of course, this what makes these songs so fascinating—they tap into that same seductive intersection where sparks snap between synapses, where our brain weaves a story from sound, and where reality and fantasy are, in fact, the same thing.

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