S&R, Sean Naauao and Robi Kahakalau, (Poi Pounder Records)
On S&R, the two update that template with a collection of songs honed by two years of performing together. Both artists have matured since their early stuff—these songs feature Hawaiian-language lyrics and a more traditional sound—but they haven’t forgotten the sugar.
The result is a tasty new sound that even Jawaiian-haters would be hard-pressed to dismiss. Kahakalau’s voice is as sweet as ever, and Naauao has a knack for extracting every last drop of melody from a composition.
The traditional song “Ka Lei E,” for example, has been juiced with a loping beat, a steel guitar and a rich vocal chorus, turning it into a warm, feel-good anthem of summer.
One caveat: You might want to skip the saccharine, easy-listening cover of Roberta Flack’s “Where Is the Love.” Unless you’re into that kind of thing, of course.
Bottom line: Here’s hoping Sean and Robi stick together.