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Viva Voce

Get Yr Blood Sucked Out

3 Stars

Viva Voce's first album since signing to Barsuk Records would have made a smashing EP. Unfortunately, it's a full-length -- which means you get a handful of terrific songs swamped by a morass of mediocre numbers. In sadly short supply is the consistent ingenuity, charm, and soul of previous releases such as the wonderful The Heat Can Melt Your Brain. While it stumbles a bit, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out nevertheless opens with a satisfying triad -- the catchy, upbeat, "Believer," the sweet "When Planets Collide," and the astute "From the Devil Himself" -- only to drift into the bog not once, but twice. Now, I love this Portland-based husband-and-wife duo, and I'm eagerly looking forward to each new release. But damn it, there are just too many lethargic love songs here, too many Kevin -- as opposed to Anita -- vocals, and too many undercooked ideas for Sucked to score an unqualified recommendation. Next time, perhaps.


DOWNLOAD: "From the Devil Himself"

Ladyfinger (ne)

Heavy Hands

3 Stars

Something's run amok in Omaha. Conor Oberst's been out on the road too long; maybe someone locked Todd Baechle and Joel Petersen in a basement; Mike Mogis is too busy in the studio. Remember back before we knew that Saddle Creek had started a revolution, and we assumed the Midwest was full of heavy metal-obsessed rock wannabes? Somebody's off their head at SC headquarters and now, well, we've got Ladyfinger (ne).

The confusing (so very troubling) part is that the gentlemen are actually part of the elite -- bassist Ethan Jones was in the Faint, drummer Pat Oaks is in Mayday and Solid Jackson. But, honest to God, some of these songs sound like outtakes for the new Audioslave album. Classic rock melds with the dreaded "modern rock," with only a slight hint of the band's pop/synth/electronic sensibilities. The most surprising bit? Midwest heavy metal-flavored rock isn't so bad.


DOWNLOAD: "Who Believes Enough?"
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