Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Vanguard
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Two-person rock bands are nothing new anymore, not after the success of the White Stripes, the Black Keys, Black Diamond Heavies and the Raveonettes, not to mention upstart bands like Black Pistol Fire and the Stereophidelics. (Hmm, a lot of “black” in those names…) In the space of ten years, more or less, the tempate of drums + guitar/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist has gone from an oddball niche idea to mainstream rock ‘n’ roll success story. And why not? At their best, these bands rock as much as the traditional four-piece or five-piece ensemble.
The husband and wife duo Viva Voce are based in Portland, have released records with respected labels like Barsuk and Asthmatic Kitty and toured with Jimmy Eat World and The Shins. They favor heavily reverbed, Mazzy Star-like melodies and rigidly metronomic beats that often sound like a drum machine even when there’s a person on the skins. But if you look beneath their heavy alt-rock signifiers, Kevin and Anita Robinson often sound like an old-fashion country music duo with the comfortable, give-and-take interplay of a John and June or Kenny and Dolly.
Viva Voce's 2011 release The Future Will Destroy You is an expansive and somewhat slow-burning mix of the indie rock, psych rock, and pop sounds they've delved into over the years. Viva Voce have always evinced an interest in the kind of garage rock meets baroque pop aesthetic of such acts as Yo La Tengo and Sparklehorse, and fans will be happy to know that not much has changed here. Once again centering on the married duo of singer/guitarist Anita Robinson and drummer Kevin Robinson, tracks like the Yo La Tengo-ish "Analog Woodland Radio" and atmospheric lo-fi dance number "Diamond Mine" are perfect afternoon car-trip tracks that find vocalist Robinson evincing something like a combination of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval and Stevie Nicks.