Rose City

Indie sweethearts Viva Voce pair swooning voices with bold rock statements for the powerhouse release Rose City.

Viva Voce, indie rock’s fave married duo, follows up 2006’s Get Yr Blood Sucked Out with ’90s-flavored Rose City. Conjuring U2, Mojave 3, and, weirdly, Chris Isaak, the band departs from their former mellow, stoner rock into new, raucous territory. Here, the riff prevails, ripping and tumbling through backgrounds of bold, precise drumming, as the pair’s cucumber-cool voices rise and fall with well-practiced gravity on tracks like “Devotion” and “Good as Gold.” The dirge-like piano of “Midnight Sun” keeps company with little more than a beat and a guitar, as hopeful vocals soar in perfect harmony. That sneaky, desolate strumming reappears throughout the album, most notably on “Red Letter Day,” with the two lovers crooning spookily over it. Granted, the lyrics are nothing fancy, but there are plenty of surprises on Rose City that engage and endear.