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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Viva Voce
Get Yr Blood Sucked Out
Barsuk

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


September 8, 2006
Husbands and wives making music together sounds like a recipe for disaster. Relationships are complicated enough, throw in the need to communicate musically and break-up could be a chord change away. But ever since Captain and Tennille proved "love will keep us together" there have been lovebirds who have flown in the face of logic. So perhaps the opposite theory is true: a certain inherent chemistry between couples can lead to greater things. Mates of State have it going on, and Portland based couple Viva Voce now add more weight to the case of musical marital bliss.

The title of their latest release, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out, spells it out pretty well: this album proposes to kick some ass. From the hard strumming opening chords to the closing fade out, the dynamic duo are fiercely determined to at least get yr blood flowing. Stylistically the record is all over the map, with good ol' blues the common thread that binds it all together. Layered upon that foundation is a healthy dose of brooding space rock, calling to mind pop-psych scenesters Dandy Warhols and Mazzy Star. Even psychedelic pioneers Pink Floyd get their due. "We Do Not Fuck Around," with its acoustic piano and tender slide guitar, begins eerily like Roger Waters bidding the cruel world goodbye on The Wall.

The album opens with "Believer," a track which would be right at home on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Howl. A harmonica-tinged gospel jam with big attitude and sung by both Kevin and Anita Robinson, it sets the tone for what's to come. If you're going to introduce your record with the line "I'm a believer now/ 'cause I've seen what they can do/ and they still don't have a clue," you'd better back it up. Thankfully it doesn't take long for the Robinsons to do just that. Get Yr Blood Sucked Out's second track, "When Planets Collide," is sung by a sultry Anita Robinson and immediately shifts the album's gears. Sluggish and surly, with classic blues riffs, it's a straight up love song: "when I see you/ the stars melt away in the sky." Trading lead vocals is a great way to keep the listener off balance and things really get moving on the following track, "From the Devil Himself." With handclaps banging away and reverb aplenty, it's the perfect backdrop for Kevin to insist "there's 6 billion people/ and 6 billion ways/ to do 6 billion kinds of damage that all feel the same/ hey now/ you're gonna get yr blood sucked out!"

The blood-pumping heart of the record is found right after a short piano interlude about halfway through. "So Many Miles" blasts from the speakers with a wall of electric guitar and Mrs. Robinson commanding the listener to "open your eyes, it's time to begin/ a lesson in lies, from fair weather friends." From there it's eight minutes of sustained kick drum, wailing guitar, and a horn solo that proves beyond a doubt that this couple originally hail from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The album ends with two great tracks: "Helicopter" is a druggy mood piece with a single verse set to a repetitive bassline that simply kills it, while closer "How to Nurse a Bruised Ego Back to Health," which has just a single line, pays homage to yet another psychedelic outfit, The Flaming Lips.

Viva Voce have always been musically intriguing and continue their winning streak with a diverse suite of songs that come together as a cohesive whole. Though the album changes up several times dynamically, it is the scorching aura that is the source code for Get Yr Blood Sucked Out. The energy created by the bride and groom is palpable from the get-go and slow burns the distance.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

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