Looking at an album's credits can often a fair indication of how interesting said record is going to be. Guitars, bass, drums, maybe even a synth or a keyboard, are standard fare, as are between three and six musicians to play them. So many great LPs were recorded in this fashion that, come 2006, it can take something a bit different to stand out from the crowd.
Step forward Viva Voce, a husband/wife duo from Portland, Oregon who do just that by employing, amongst other things, a bowed saw and a fishing rod(?!) on their latest long-player. Of course, this could be dismissed as mere novelty if the pair hadn't written a fantastic bunch of songs to showcase their sonic experiments. They have, and Get Yr Blood Sucked Out might just be the album that finally brings the talented pair to a wider audience.
Comparison with other male/female duos is probably inevitable, but Viva Voce's sound bears little resemblance to the self-consciously lo-fi ethic of either The Kills or The White Stripes. Here, they produce much grander soundscapes, with an array of overdubs from their eclectic music box supplementing Anita Robinson's guitar and husband Kevin's drums.
Handclaps feature prominently, without ever becoming an aggravation: see future single 'From The Devil Himself', a rollicking slice of Velvets-style rattle 'n' roll – 'Run, Run, Run' covered by Joy Zipper, if you're into those kind of analogies. From brooding to bombastic, Viva Voce's fourth album covers a whole host of stylistic bases, from opening number and country stomper 'Believer' to cotton wool finale 'How To Nurse A Bruised Ego', featuring chiming piano lines and some celestial vocals from Mrs Robinson. In between, we're treated to some first-class blues, sky-gazing Americana and good old fashioned rock'n'roll.
Where other duos (nay, bands) seem happy to plough a particular musical furrow until they hit a commercially barren patch, Viva Voce's passion for innovation remains untainted by the pressure to sell records or produce an album that fits with prevailing trends. This is an organic, homegrown creation that sounds as though it's had a lot of time and love invested in it; lend an inquisitive ear and find yourself instantly besotted.
9Rob Webb's Score