CAT #: RVNGNL62
November 15, 2019
As Helado Negro and the Smile Band, Roberto Carlos Lange and his faithful music-making companions recreate the sounds of This Is How You Smile for Live at KCRW, a recording of the ensemble’s inspired performance on Jason Bentley’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.
In this living offering, six songs from Helado Negro’s most recent and widely embraced album are encouraged to a global sound stage from the intimacy of Lange’s studio embrace, swaddled in the comfortable delight of accomplished musicianship and amiable collaboration. Live At KCRW serenades like a surreal sonnet in a morning dream, or an impromptu family singalong on a sunset road trip.
The beloved musical and lyrical themes of This Is How You Smile are revisited, if not revitalized, in the kindling of new arrangements, welcoming listeners across the hearth of the Helado Negro home. Invocations of love, protection, and healing, tributes to maternal and ancestral journeying, and the universal appeal to “take care of one another” are flourished with the human quality of live vocal harmonization and a hybrid of acoustic and synthesized instrumentation.
While some songs from Smile enjoy stylistic adaptation, as in the bossa nova swing of “Pais Nublado,” others return with new clarity, like the tenderly touched “Please Won’t Please.” “Running” reappears with a spirited pace, while “Two Lucky” stretches out through the expanded group’s rhythmic reach. “Imagining What You Do” and “Sabana de Luz” follow like seasonal transitions, moving from gentle consolation to sun-drenched optimism. Both vinyl sides end with distinct but holistic departures from Smile, dissolving into washes of instrumental, ambient splendor.
Helado Negro and the Smile Band is Adron (voice, acoustic guitar), Ana Barreiro (drums), Angela Morris (voice, violin, piano), Nathaniel Morgan (saxophone), and Oliver Hill (bass, viola), with Roberto Carlos Lange at the center of it all.
Helado Negro and the Smile Band’s Live At KCRW will be available in a limited vinyl edition from Helado Negro on a spree of upcoming US and international tour dates and from RVNG Intl.