[7 June 2011]
Gaby Moreno may be best known for her work as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated theme song to the television show Parks and Recreation, but the bilingual singer-songwriter from Los Angeles (via Guatemala) has a much different identity as a solo artist. On her second album, Moreno takes a sassy approach that’s sophisticated and bluesy, but still light and sweet. Whether she sings in English or Spanish (she does both), her jazzy intonations offer a hazy and romantic look at life. Moreno’s material is inherently theatrical. She doesn’t merely sing, but performs her self-penned compositions, which incorporate everything from a Hawaiian lap style guitar to an R&B horn section. Calling this album Illustrated Songs makes sense. It is perfect cabaret music for that imaginary bistro where the patrons are the kind of people you’d like to hang out with and the discussions are always creative, intelligent and passionate. Whether Moreno sings about living out our fantasies (“Daydream by Design”) or the world of fantasy that we already inhabit (“Mean Old Circus”), she does so with finesse and flair.