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Viva Voce

This Nashville-via-Portland duo has a remote Tucson connection, having opened for Calexico once on tour. But their sound is more consistent with the Chicago indie-rock catalog of Minty Fresh, the label home of their upcoming release, The Heat Can Melt Your Brain. (We Tucsonans have been there, too, thank you.) Minty Fresh, you may recall, brought us Veruca Salt, the Cardigans and Papas Fritas. Viva Voce is similarly accessible yet adventurous, but unique in its adaptations of 21st-century technology and a post-postmodern aesthetic, as in "been there, let's see what's next!" It's twisted optimism and the brightest possible edge of darkness.

Heat's opening track, "Alive With Pleasure," is a deconstructed smorgasbord, wrapping heavy metal tropes, some '50s piano rock and squalling reverb around an acoustic sweetheart of a pop song highlighting Anita Robinson's breathy girly chant, "Give it some time ... we'll be just fine." "Mixtape= Love" is simply beautiful--"Maybe I can't say these things that I want ... hope you hear right past the songs"--a must-own for anyone who needs Kleenex to watch High Fidelity. Given the density of their recorded productions, thick with layers of electronics and effects, their duo-only performances can sometimes fall short of expectations. But Viva Voce understands risk: It can always go either way. We'll be just fine.

More by Linda Ray

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