Guendoline Rome Viray Gomez has been simmering away releasing singles and EPs since 2018. A talented and eclectic producer who counts Charli XCX and fellow Dirty Hit label band The 1975 among his in-studio colleagues, the Filipino artist (24) has properly arrived with his much-awaited debut LP.
Working with co-producers BJ Burton (Kanye West, Bon Iver) and George Daniel (The 1975), Rome takes the best production techniques and styles of the past decade and dials them up to 11. The distorted, fuzzed-out guitars on the joyous How Are You Feeling? alongside Rome’s warm, moody vocals remind you of everything that was great about pop-punk the first time around. Elsewhere there are pitched up vocals (Remember November), post-rock atmospheres (IT’S *NOT* LOV33) and swirling reverb (Everything). It’s All Smiles is kitchen sink production at its most fun.
Comparisons to The 1975 are unavoidable, especially on the sung-spoken I Want U, where tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as “she took a line-up off the table, then she went to me and turned me around and said ‘play Prince’,” err on the right side of charming. There is also plenty of DNA from Bon Iver, Kanye West and James Blake in the production, but Rome blends his influences with a sound that is refreshing, even if it’s not quite signature yet.
Detailed, textured and very pretty, It’s All Smiles is an exciting debut from a talented producer not afraid to wear his influences proudly.