Will Adams: Horns ahoy!
Ryo Miyauchi: Like many songs in Estilo Libre, “Punto Final” deals with Gepe’s own memories. For this, he recollects his childhood and channels its fond warmth but also its fleeting briskness into music. The specifics — a walk through Gran Avenida and San Miguel — pass by in a blur like a gaze out the window of his metro rides. More than a wonderful flashback, this is yet another badge of hometown pride by Gepe: he embraces his upbringing to share with others outside of his world. And the slicker his music gets, more of his pride seems to shine through.
Cassy Gress: I don’t have a Facebook account and haven’t for years, primarily because it was quickly shaping up into a way for people I hadn’t been friends with in high school to pretend that we had been friends, and for people I had been friends with to disappoint me with how differently we turned out. This recycles the beat from “Hambre” and turns it into a paean to lifelong friends and the relative democracy of childhood; it tugs on the same darkened, walled-off part of my brain that my mom tugs on when she sends me emails about how the kids I grew up with are doing (because she’s still in touch with their parents, of course). It’s not meant to be melancholy, but I’m sort of uncomfortably sad anyway.
Mo Kim: Those horns! Those chilled-out guitar licks! That whistled hook! That voice, nimble and buttery and breathy in all of the best ways! Gepe gets this one over almost on aesthetic quality alone, but there’s an irresistible momentum to the way this jumps from strength to strength before throwing the listener another hook, another production trick, another rhythmic variation.
Iain Mew: I’ve occasionally wondered what would have happened if Jens Lekman had taken his contribution to Javiera Mena’s amazing “Sufrir” as more of a pointer for himself and add some of that musical style to his winsome songwriting. Now the position already being taken is a pretty good reason not to, though.
Alfred Soto: Like his compatriot Alex Anwandter, Gepe’s plainsong is his strength; he approaches romantic trauma with the mien of a Pep Boys mechanic peeking at the radiator. The charm of “Punto Final” is the hermetic sound of the demo, which excuses the organ and canned horns.
Juana Giaimo: Alex Anwandter recently complained about how apolitical the Chilean music scene is. It isn’t a coincidence that he recorded an album with Gepe in 2012, since although he isn’t exactly political, it does feature social commentary as simple as remembering childhood and our values. His music evolved from quiet bedroom songs to a blend of massive genres of the streets combined with the newest trends. As he himself says in the spoken bridge of “Punto Final”: “Ableton Live and a charango and bombo.” I remember how his infectious brass succeeded at making me dance so freely at his show and how I sang along so passionately to his always smooth vocals that learnt how to get loud by rapping. At that show, I met three Chilean people currently studying in Buenos Aires. I saw how one of them reacted with excitement when she casually found another Chilean who grew up in the same place she did. I can’t remember the name of their hometown, but she could just have said, like Gepe sings in the chorus, “I saw you yesterday walking in San Miguel!”