Those of us who attended Viva Voce's
Tower Theatre show last March were given a pretty strong preview of their new album. The overall performance was basically enjoyable, but husband-and-wife duo Kevin and Anita Robinson (Viva Voce) failed at times to command a dominant stage presence. This wasn't too surprising because Viva Voce has never come across as a true headlining band, nor have they written songs that audience members expect to hear. My concern was this record would expose creative fatigue evident by their less-than-engaging live show.
Their sixth full-length record thankfully continues to perfect Kevin and Anita's brand of shoegazing garage-infused rock sounds without sounding tired or unsure (and that killer cover art doesn't hurt, either). "Black Mood Ring" and "Cool Morning Sun" showcase the Robinsons sounding like a full band ripping through tasty melodic rock 'n' roll catalogs. The slow burning "A Viking Love Song" also displays both Robinsons confidently playing to their strengths while lighting up the sky with great guitars and well-chosen percussion. At times, the looping and drum tracks feel like surrender ("Diamond Mine"), showing the limits of a two-person band trying to sound as full as Viva Voce would like, but the strength is evident in how effortlessly each song points to Anita and Kevin's ability to work within their style and unique sound without ever imitating their influences.
The album closer, "A Wondering Soul," most effectively delivers the band's sound with foreboding backgrounds, deep resonating guitars and heavy-hitting drums nicely wrapped with echoing vocals. If this song is an indicator of what to expect next from Viva Voce, they will be worth listening to for years to come.