Viva Voce

Anita and Kevin Robinson constitute the entire membership of Viva Voce, and because they're an item off-stage as well as on, their band is sometimes likened to the White Stripes. It's a relief, then, when The Heat Can Melt Your Brain, the duo's new disc for the Minty Fresh imprint, reveals such comparisons to be completely inappropriate. Rather than going the rockin'-blues route, the Robinsons, who were based in Nashville before relocating to the more indie-friendly environs of Portland, create ambitious modern pop using the most rudimentary techniques imaginable. (In one recent profile, Anita said they got a particularly unusual guitar tone by bouncing sound from a small amplifier into their open stove.) As Brain demonstrates, the pair's music covers an impressively wide range. For instance, "Alive With Pleasure" frames a delicate ditty within anthemic riffing, while "High Highs" offers a trippy take on samba and "They Never Really Wake Up" visits a gently psychedelicized dreamland. Although translating this variety of styles in concert will be a challenge, Anita and Kevin, who appear alongside Magic Cyclops and the Mendoza Line at this date, clearly share an intriguing musical vision that owes diddly to Jack and Meg White. Viva la difference! -- Roberts


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