Viva’s website tells me that I could think of the titular singer/guitarist “as a female Jeff Buckley.” I’m not gonna do that. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I popped Viva’s album Rock & Roll Lover into my computer but it sure as shit wasn’t Jeff god damn Buckley. I couldn’t decide if Rock & Roll Lover was a cool album title or not, if the cover looked good or not, if I liked the track names or not. However, once the first song started, I was sold.
Bursting at the seams with energy, the first song (incidentally, it’s the title song) consists of a groovy guitar lines, some pounding drums, and a really sweet horn section. All of these are good things. Topping the layer cake of great instrumentation is a voice that falls somewhere around the B-52s.
Further into the album, you’ll stumble across the eclectic beat poetry meets Warren Zevon meets quirky white girl gem that is “What’s Your Sign, Baby?” The song is fun but I’ll be damned if you ask me what the hell this girl is talking about. Also pay attention to the awesome sax solo towards the end of the track.
Deeper and deeper we go as “$15 Dollar Buzz” bleeds ska influences. The song is so genuine that it’s hard not to like. The song “Go-Go Boots” is a few years to late for the sexual revolution but it arrived just on time to be a hit with its retro sounds and funky keyboard/synth riffing. Did I mention the funky bassline?
In the final analysis, this album is tons of fun. The musicians sound like they’re all having great times. Once in a while, I found myself wishing that Viva would let go on her vocals a bit more, she has a tendency to sound a little withdrawn, but when she lets loose you really know it. Keep an eye on these guys, they might go places.