Almismotiempo, Camila Moreno

Sello Azul, Chile ****
Rating: 80
By Carlos Reyes

“Porque aquí todos los nudos se desatan con canciones”, Camila Moreno embraces this statement in her bold, flourishing first album Almismotiempo, a showcase of pop and folk in the lines of Gepe and Lisandro Aristimuño, but more earthly in its approach to command multi-dimensional songs that are not necessarily trying to escape from Latin-American folk as the world knows it, but definitely sounds too personal to fall into epic or protestant guidelines. I don’t think there has been an album as effective in trying to hide its pop and rock influences since Gepe’s Gepinto, both albums maintain their distance from Victor Jara while sounding like him and at the same time pulling off a loop from Fiona Apple.

In its most subtle side, Almismotiempo attends the anomalies of the heart, among them the desires of the flesh, negotiating both structures through a secular insight, not religiously oriented but definitely spiritual. Through the years music critics have learned not to trust artists’ arguments regarding their creations; but during a recent interview, Camila proved some of them can’t help but be honest or at least convincing with their responses. She says she has a fascination with pop culture and Bjork, but once she sat down to make music, she was unconsciously making folk music. Mind not to say, this is not your average folk/world album but an extension of the ohsobeautiful ‘cancion melodramatica popular.’

There’s a thing about Chilean and Argentinean folk that makes songs seem heavier than what they are, like a shield surrounding melody and guiding it toward march-like sequences. This is best exemplified in “Millones”, the leading single and the only statement song in the album. It’s a piece about institutions, corruption and everything in between. In particular, it’s a dispute over the healthcare system, while an American author would focus on insurances and the fantasized idea of providing care to all people, this young Chilean songstress is left with remote needs such as vaccinations for secluded villages.

Almismotiempo bursts with beautiful orchestrations in “Primero Que Apune” and “Pera”, both tracks shroud with sad compositions and yet find a way to release optimism as a reward. Chile’s pop is fascinated with timings, steps, shapes, forms, and Camila Moreno adds a little of her own, it’s the gift of fragmentation to which she ironically pays homage in “Ay.” Camila’s broken deep-felt voice in “Delfin del Deseo” reminds me of the early Julieta Venegas and Francisca Valenzuela. The album has a sense of contained feeling to it, which is evident in the jazzy “Lo Cierto” and the fatalistic “Cae y Calla.” Ultimately, Moreno’s debut triumphs by allowing ‘flaws’ into its system, it takes itself into vulnerable ground and it doesn’t need to shout or sensationalize its message, as the closing track “Trenza” states, someday and somehow “todo se pondra a bailar.”