by Enrique Coyotzi
Two years after gracing us with his instant classic Audiovisión, the creative monster that is Gepe returns with his fourth album, GP. It's immediate and friendly and finds the singer-songwriter embracing his innate compositional talents in a logical universe. Considering the approachable intentions of its predecessor, his current music could impact the mainstream (Carla Morrison as a guest singer, reggaeton and moombathon appreciation) due to the smartly crafted, yet natural venture into pop confection, where folklore and novelty comfortably coexist.
We can envision this new work as a metamorphosis of Daniel Riveros' career into possible transcontinental acclaim. Gepe has always been a cool guy with indie cred, but watching him swagging, collaborating with Pedropiedra, while awkwardly donning sunglasses in the video for lead single “En La Naturaleza (4-3-2-1-0)” unveiled a more laid back side to Gepe, both in artistic style and persona—one that doesn't sacrifice an ounce of introspection or authenticity.
As reported in an insightful interview for Super 45, Riveros admitted that, under his stage name, he wanted to "try a brand, establish it..." And he has accomplished that in GP. Generally secreting joviality, it signifies the Chilean star's most accessible creation to date, playing almost like a blueprint of his whole career. Its simplicity will conquer newcomers, while making faithful devotees fall in love all over again. Unsurprisingly, the virtuoso found equilibrium between effortless eloquence through colloquial scenarios and straight-to-the-soul sincerity, relying on rousing arrangements, sonic textures, and unique sensibility.
Pairing up for a second time with super producer Cristian Heyne, Gepe revisits the ideal vessel necessary to direct his delights. The record soothingly oscillates between marching trumpet-led, Andean numbers ("Con Un Solo Zapato No Se Puede Caminar," "Bomba Chaya") to heart-grabbing, mellow pieces that'll get you weeping on your pillow ("Campos Magnéticos," "Un Gran Vacío"), or simply dancing ("Bailar Bien Bailar Mal"), all of them displaying a variety of genres that jump from folk to hip hop, flamenco to reggaeton, carrying on the finest pop articulation.
Even though this is the musician's highest vibrant and upbeat collection of themes, we shouldn't be fooled only by the animated harmonies. The dynamic songsmith also distills awe-inspiring lyrics guaranteed to provoke tears in sensitive, susceptible listeners. Take, for instance, tracks like "Campos Magnéticos" or "Un Gran Vacío," whose brutal honesty may cause difficulty in coming back to them without feeling a bit down. On the other hand, tunes in the vein of "Fruta y Té" or "Bacán tu Casa" are romantic and direct compositions so enchantingly sticky and melodiously alluring they might not leave your head for a while.
Gepe has yet to release a weak record. We can describe his flourishing trajectory to this accessible stage as something risky yet impeccable. And, though the free-spirited, unabashedly digestible GP probably will disconcert many fans, there's no denying it's yet another strong addition to the artist's exceptional discography. Most important is the manner this achievement flows. It's entrancingly circular and, contrary to that recent Café Tacvba effort, should take you one spin to get attached. Gepe is a composer who seems to conjure hits effortlessly. Hell, he wrote the majority of these songs during a period of three months, recruited the best producer in the game, and quickly gave birth to a round release that has made us re-evaluate if "El objeto antes llamado disco" is obsolete. Yet, as Pegasvs, Juventud Americana, and now GP have demonstrated, we can firmly declare that the album format is still alive.