Viva Voce

Fri April 16
Ash Street Saloon
225 SW Ash

"Couples who play together stay together" isn't just the Marriage Counselor Cliché of 2004; it's practically a mantra for this year's crop of couple-bands. Is this the summer of love all over again? Viva Voce certainly makes it feel that way.

Both parties' notoriously diverse tastes range from '70s proggy pop-rock, like ELO and The Alan Parsons Project, to late-'60s soul, bombastic electronica and the contemporary indie canon, and it shows throughout 2003's stellar Lovers Lead the Way (Asthmatic Kitty). Critically acclaimed classical guitarist Anita Robinson and her husband, Kevin, moved from Arkansas to Tennessee to Portland in the last decade; it's no wonder that the two full-lengths they've released during that time are as informed by swampy-sounding aromas of Smoky Mountain acoustics, as they are by adventurous Northwestern rock.

The disparate amalgam of sounds that Viva Voce has embraced, masticated and reformed always achieves a natural-sounding synthesis--as with any solid couple, their differences are the strengths that make them successful. Although the act of lumping source material from various genres into a rock-ish fusion isn't new, Viva Voce uses their kickass palette to paint velvety-thick pop songs that directly tribute sunny psychedelic pop. And Kevin's big on the particulars involved in capturing those bright sounds: as a writer at Larry Crane's famous and geek worthy Tape Op magazine, he gabs brilliantly about the minutia of recording. His warm treatments shine brilliantly on Lovers; when Anita busts out a not-to-be-forgotten fuzz solo on "Red-D-Lish," you'll wish that you, too, played with your spouse.