It’s a tale as old as time: cherubic bedroom-pop sensation is enshrined in hype, rides the wave, disappears for a few months, and re-emerges with a slick, super-produced debut album. But while Chilean-Norwegian wunderkind Nicolas Muñoz aka Boy Pablo ticks all those boxes, his debut, ‘Wachito Rico’, is proof that it needn’t be a compromise.
Taking its title from a Chilean expression that translates to fondness for a “handsome boy” the album centers on the titular character’s love story, mirrored by Boy Pablo’s own experiences. Familiar territory and no mistake, but his pining craft, all jazzy guitar shapes and heart-stung pleas, feels remarkably well-realised.
Highlights abound. Opener ‘i hope she loves me back’, with its slick synth arps, is given the low-key Mort Garson treatment. The title track, sung in both English and Spanish, is a full-blown Latin disco throwdown - and works. ‘Hey Girl’, meanwhile, cuts to the chase. “Hey girl, do you like me? I guess that’s a stupid-ass question,” he sings. Sure, Ivor Novello isn’t likely to be in touch any time soon, but it hardly matters. So long as you don’t go into ‘Wachito Rico’ expecting Dostovevskyian nuance, it’s a trip worth taking. Besides, Boy Pablo wears naïveté well.
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With a casual 70 million streams on one of his earliest singles, the three years leading up to Nico Muñoz’s debut have been nothing short of spectacular. Now, he’s welcoming you into his universe.
His debut album ‘Wachito Rico’ is released on Friday.