Whenever “cinematic” is used to describe a piece of music, more often than not it’s because of the dramatic tenor of a string section. Alegoría, Gaby Moreno’s latest album, her seventh, has a cinematic quality to it, but not because of the instrumentation. Alegoría is cinematic because of how dynamic it is. It’s like watching a movie, one that will become a favorite, for the first time and being engrossed with every twist and turn. Moreno draws you in and doesn’t let you go.
Moreno, a Los Angeles-based, Guatemala-born producer and singer-songwriter, self-produced Alegoría, and it has a free-flowing energy that comes with working on a personal project that you love. In press materials, Moreno says she hopes “there’s a little something for everyone” in her record, and thanks to her curation of such a diverse selection of styles and moods, it does feel like there’s a song for any occasion.
Alegoría has mournful ballads (“Lamento”), hypnotic yearning (“Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow”), and childlike wonder (“Lost on a Cloud”). Singing in both English and Spanish and featuring collaborations with guitarists Marc Ribot and Davíd Garza, Moreno plays with folk, blues, and rock styles that center on lively guitar playing. Anchored by an electrifying guitar riff, Alegoría begins with a big rock track in “Nobody’s Wrong” which captures the feeling you have when you see conflict and think, “I’m not going to get involved in this.” “Si En El Fondo” sounds like a classic soft-rock song, and closer “El Merendero Gratuito” moves magnificently and invites you to do the same.
On “’Til Waking Light,” a slinky sounding song whose guitar melody feels like it’s mimicking a cat on an evening prowl, Moreno sings, “we don’t know what’s coming or what lies beyond the bend.” It’s a fitting summary of Alegoría as a whole. You don’t know where Moreno will take you next, but it’s thrilling to be along for the ride.