STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 165142-25500 LABEL: Reach FORMAT: Digital Only Album
Reviewed by Andy Shaw
Having established himself in the hip-hop scene as a producer, including picking up a Dove award for Lecrae's 'Anomaly' LP this record sees Gawvi releasing his first record as an artist in his own right. Drawing on the relationships he has built up over the years as a producer, a number of other artists have lent their vocal talents with collaborators including Jonathan Thulin, Wordsplayed and ELHAE. As a producer Gawvi is best known for hip-hop but this record has given him an opportunity to spread his wings and broaden his horizons with many different genres making an appearance. The album doesn't really grab your attention from the start as "Rock N Roll" kicks things off with a fairly straightforward electronic dance track. "Godspeed" follows and really kicks things off with solid beats and vocals from Reach Records labelmates Andy Mineo and KB crashing into heavy dubstep breakdowns. The record then settles into a more feel good pop feel with "Like We Belong", "Show Me" and "Never Fails" all featuring beats to get you dancing and uplifting lyrics complimented by the use of a variety of instrumentation including muted horns, saxophone and guitar. Gawvi was born to a father from El Salvador and a mother from Dominican Republic so it is no surprise to hear a Latino influence on "En La Calle" which features Spanish vocals over Latin beats and syncopated synth whilst "Cumbia" uses an accordion sound and beat that recalls a Fugees style fusion. Even when experimenting with different styles though, Gawvi always retains his ability to hold a strong beat interspersing heavy breakdowns to keep you on your toes. It is not all fast pace and in your face, with some more soulful moments such as "Giana", written by Gawvi for his one year old daughter. In truth the lyrics on 'We Belong' often play second fiddle to the music though the closing track "Hold On" bucks that trend with reflective and worshipful lyrics focusing on God ("May your glory fall around me as your Kingdom comes"). There's some good stuff here but with so much diversity some might find the entire selection hard to digest.
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