fri 23/06/2017

CD: Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes

CD: Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes

Alt-rockers return with gospel according to saints Nina and Louise

Where Veruca Salt always excelled was in the juxtaposition between the sweet and the sour
"Gooey back-and-forth harmonies and an unyielding commitment to the distortion pedal": Veruca Salt return

“It’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy,” purrs Nina Gordon on “The Gospel According to Saint Me”, the opening track from what must surely, if you overlook Independence Day getting a sequel 20 years later, be one of the more unlikely of the current wave of Nineties reunions. It’s a lyric that succinctly captures what were always the band’s best features – gooey back-and-forth harmonies and an unyielding commitment to the distortion pedal – and one that bodes well for the Chicagoans’ first album together since 1997.

Sonically, Ghost Notes picks up where Eight Arms to Hold You left off – certainly more so than anything released under the Veruca Salt name since the acrimonious departure of all but co-frontwoman Louise Post in that album’s wake – while the lyrics speak to the fence-mending and hatchet-burying that got them back into the studio again. Where the opening track is a rhythmic, self-assured mission statement, “Prince of Wales” is all tension and restraint. Where lead single “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl” is as raucous, defiant and immensely fun as the best of the band’s MTV-friendly singles, “Black and Blonde” almost snaps under the pressure of Steve Lack’s bass and Jim Shapiro’s drumming, and all the things left unsaid.

Where Veruca Salt always excelled was in the juxtaposition between the sweet and the sour, in meandering verses and cathartic choruses, and “Empty Bottle” – a near six-minute epic at the album’s mid-point, which goes from reflection to heartbreak to forgiveness to acceptance – is among the finest examples of the band’s career. But my favourite moment is the most simple: a defiant “la la-la la-la” and two best friends rediscovering why they meant to much to each other in the first place. If Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks can pull it off, there’s no reason why this reunion can’t run and run.

Overleaf: watch the "Laughing in the Sugar Bowl" video


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