Blue Giant

Blue Giant

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After 11 years and five albums, Viva Voce called it quits in 2009, but the husband-and-wife team of Kevin and Anita Robinson didn't stay idle for long -- they gave up working as a duo to form Blue Giant, a sort of Pacific Northwest supergroup in which the two singers and instrumentalists joined forces with Chris Funk of the Decemberists on pedal steel and banjo, Seth Lorinczi of the Golden Bears on bass and keyboards, and Evan Railton of the Swords on drums and keyboards. The group's self-titled debut confirms the Robinson's instincts were right on the money --their fine vocals and guitar work are the heart and soul of this music, but their similarly talented accompanists have allowed them to add more space and color to their music and still keep this fusion of country twang, pop melodies, and rock & roll attitude sounding fresh and spontaneous. Anita's fierce electric leads, Kevin's rock-solid acoustic work, and Funk's steel are a winning combination, generating a high lonesome vibe that firmly underscores the country leanings of the songs, while Lorinczi and Railton put a healthy swing into the rhythms, and even while this group is indulging in their rootsy influences, they generate enough sweat to keep the rockists in the audience interested. And between the rollicking "Blue Sunshine," the weepy loneliness of "Target Heart," the pure pop of "Wesley," the gentle folk-rock of "Lonely Girl," and the rock & roll pomp of "The Game," this album leaves no doubt that the Robinsons know how to write fine songs and make them come alive with their new combo. While Blue Giant has the freshness and enthusiasm of a debut album, it also boasts the artistry and intelligence of a band with years of experience, and this music brings forth the joy of the best of both worlds.

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