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  The Heat Can Melt Your Brain
Artist: Viva Voce
Label: Minty Fresh
Length: 10 tracks, 37:37

It has certainly been a wild ride for Viva Voce thus far. Their work of the past few years is far from the My Bloody Valentine-influenced Christian rock debut of yesteryear. Not only has the band found their own sound, they've also found a fair amount of success (for an indie outfit at least), with their latest tour making its way to Europe and a recent song appearance on the oh-so-indie (tongue in cheek) FOX drama The OC.

Meanwhile, Viva Voce manages to still feel like the same, good-hearted Kevin and Anita Robinson that I grew up with. Where the last album, Lovers Lead the Way marked a signficant stylistic change for the band, The Heat Can Melt the Brain sees Viva Voce settling more comfortably into the land that they developed with Lovers.

The album sets out with the instantly entrancing groove of "Alive With Pleasure," which turns out to be one of the best songs here. After about a minute and a half  of indulgent (yet oh so enjoyable) rock goodness, Anita begins singing "I've got a beginning, that's a good start." By the time she makes it to the chorus, I'm ready admit that it's very nice to have Viva Voce back.

I realize for those who are unfamiliar with Viva Voce, I should provide some sort of summary of their musical stylings. Let's see here. Take a lush-sounding pop / rock outfit such as Sixpence None the Richer and throw it in the blender, adding a unique sense of electronic experimentation and undeniable desire to groove. You should also throw in the rocker mentality at some point, because it's very obvious that Anita Robinson feels the need to rock out more than once on that electric guitar of hers.

Kevin does a fair share of vocal work on the album as well, delivering some tasty tracks such as "Business Casual" and "High Highs" that go down quite easily. The  real winner of his is "Center of the Universe," a song which feels much more epic than the album's other tracks. The atmospheric guitar and keyboard work make it one of the album's best songs.

The ten tracks on The Heat Can Melt Your Brain float along at a nice clip, with very few songs jumping out and crying for attention. It's an extremely cohesive album with few dry moments. We find here that Viva Voce is near the top of their game, crafting unique music that should please many an ear if given the chance.

Trae Cadenhead 3/20/2005

Trae Cadenhead is a student at Union University. He is pursuing a Digital Media Studies major with a Film Studies minor and plans to become involved in film making following school. Trae also has an enormous interest in music. Along with writing for the Tollbooth, Trae maintains Loconotion (, a digital archive of his thoughts on music and movies as well as a gallery of the art and video work he has done.



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