Are you ready for the Latin Swing Revival? Álvaro Ramírez certainly is, with slicked back hair and velvet suit on, figuratively speaking.
The former Ramires! frontman formed Ram y Los Mixes in 2008 in Santiago de Chile, and ever since then he’s been hard at work on perfecting his vision on the live front. Ramírez has conceptualized a funk soul revue that is retro in the right places, with plenty of life-affirming choruses, horns, and many backup singers. For their live shows, Los Mixes are composed of 12 musicians; for Presentando, Ramírez had 23 persons contributing their talent to its 10 songs.
Presentando opens with “Armas de Fuego,” a rollicking number that sets the somewhat nostalgic but empowering tone for the rest of the album. Most of the songs are longish, and it’s not hard to picture some audience participation and even some anticipation on their part when certain parts are extended and other breakdown to their basic elements. The first two singles from the album “Miedo A Nada” and “Gato Negro” are zoot-suited nightclub fun numbers with monster choruses. These type of numbers resemble Los Fabulosos Cadillacs at their most raucous and less tropically schizophrenic.
Starting with “El Tesoro,” though, things get more mellow, even reflective without lacking ambition or catchiness, although “Paraiso” does a good job keeping the party mood going. Presentando closes with “Río Arriba,” a track that reminds me of classic acid house tracks like Primal Scream’s “Come Together,” although I’m not sure if they were going for that or were referencing the influences the Bobby Gillespie-led band displayed most back then.
Álvaro has stated that Ram y Los Mixes is “a sacred book away from becoming a church.” We’re pretty sure he’s picturing a gospel singing choir, dancing in the aisles surrounded by people praising the lord with jazz hands and chorus line kicks.