[PSYCH ROCK] You'd never know Viva Voce had such a tumultuous recent history—the duo of Kevin and Anita Robinson has had side projects, full-band experiments and label switches since 2009—from listening to its albums. All five of the group's proper full-length records were recorded and produced by (and primarily for) Viva Voce itself, and while 2009 release Rose City was somewhat of a stylistic departure for the duo, its back-to-basics sound seemed more a sanity-saving detour than any permanent change in direction.
Indeed, it takes about a minute of listening to The Future Will Destroy You to notice the band is back to its grueling, time-intensive studio regimen (Kevin lost over 30 pounds while working on the new disc). Opener "Plastic Radio" sounds a bit like the Clash and '80s-era Leonard Cohen, but Anita's howling guitar lines are absolute '70s stadium-rock gold à la Gary Glitter. Though the album was recorded in Kevin and Anita's house, it sounds like a big-budget release from the get-go.
"Analog Woodland Song" is the only remnant here of Rose City's breezy sound, though the gallop of "Diamond Mine" and the drum-machine-driven "We Don't Care" both hint at an uptick in hip-hop being played in the Robinson household as of late. Most of all, The Future sounds like a Viva Voce record—which is to say it's another expertly crafted psych-rock disc, the finer details of which only fellow musicians will truly appreciate. "Black Mood Ring" is a flashy slice of shoegazing Southern rock with a gorgeous space-surf breakdown—every moment of the song feels stacked impossibly high with woozy overdubs; "A Viking Love Song" delves even deeper into smoky, Middle East-vibe tripper-rock soundscaping. The band's marriage of sugary pop harmonies and heady instrumental/studio mastery isn't for everyone, but for the predisposed, this stellar new record proves that now's as good a time as any to jump on the bandwagon.
SEE IT: Viva Voce releases The Future Will Destroy You at Music Millennium on Tuesday, June 21, at 6 pm. Free. All ages.