7/24/17 – Viva Voce “The Heat Can Melt Your Brain” (2004)

Viva Voce was an Indie Rock band composed of then-married Kevin Robinson and Anita Robinson, and they were most active in the heyday of Indie in the early 00’s. For one reason or the other, they get brushed over in favor for other bands, and unfortunately were pretty underrated. This was part of the music my brother shared with me when he was in college, and so it’s got some extra appeal to me. Many tracks on this album would fit right at home in a playset for a College Rock station, and although I don’t come back to Viva Voce often, it’s always a pleasant experience. Their sound is slightly Psychedelic, but they never stray too far from the Indie borders.

Lesson No. 1 is fantastic, and has an awesome introduction with some psychedelic guitars and boom bap drums. The Lucky Ones is a pretty depressing track, and reminds me a lot of Janis Ian’s hit At SeventeenHigh Highs is the first appearance of Kevin’s vocals on the album, and I think I prefer him to Anita. They both sing pretty similarly, breathy and nonchalantly. It’s here when I realized how blue this album is lyrically – the instrumentation is pretty upbeat and groovy. The Center Of The Universe is an old favorite on this album – and it’s the closest they sound to The Flaming Lips. The tone of the guitar on the chorus is just fantastic and compliments the rest of the sound perfectly. It’s also where the title The Heat Can Melt Your Brain comes from – a black hole that sucks up all surrounding planets but what’s really troubling the narrator is his love.

Viva Voce has fun with their song titles, the next few being Free Nude Celebs and Mixtape = Love. The lyrical content though is not at all what you might expect from the titles, they’re mellowed out jams that take their time. They Never Really Wake Up is a little different from the rest of the tracks in it’s lack of verse chorus verse, and it makes for a good closer. It’s repetitive but never feels annoying and even short despite it’s 6 minute run time. Overall this is a great Indie Rock album that I don’t listen to often, but would wholeheartedly recommend to someone in love with the genre.