A fitting, living tribute
Hailing from Muscle Shoals, Ala., but holed up in Portland since 2002, Viva Voce’s Kevin and Anita Robinson have dusty country-folk in their blood and gritty rock on their minds, and they’ve teased out this tension over four progressively darker LPs of dreamy musicality, layered over what could suffice as a lovely, bare-bones husband-and-wife duo. For Rose City, a kinda-sorta homage to their adopted hometown, they’ve brought on locals Evan Railton and Corrina Repp to beef up their sound—not that it needed beefing up, but it’s nice to hear them having fun with some talented pals. Portland is hardly hurting for love these days, and the album wisely limits its fawning to the chomping title track; over glimmering harmonies and shuddering guitars, the Robinsons & co. more often wax poetic on the passing of time and romantic disaffection than the virtues of their ’hood. But Portland’s role in producing such a subtle, consistently searing act should be compliment enough.