“It’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy” – VERUCA SALT return with GHOST NOTES – Album Review
The year is 2015 and the reunited supergals of Veruca Salt, Nina Gordon and Louise Post, are back with a brand new album of songs entitled Ghost Notes. As a fan of the band, I’ve been impatiently waiting for this day since April of 2014, when they released MMXIV, a two song EP that whetted the lips of every VS fan around the globe for even more magic. As the day was coming closer, the band sporadically released a couple of teasers that got their base chomping at the bit.
Ghost Notes opens with one of these pre-album releases, “The Gospel According to Saint Me,” a straight ahead rocker laced with those consummate pop harmonies. While I admit that some tracks written by the duo take a while to warm up to me, this song is not one of them. The lyrics promise that “it’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy” and the song feels sunny, bright and in your face. This is followed by a fifteen year old song from Nina Gordon’s solo days, “Black and Blonde.” While I liked the original song, this reworked version has its bright spots. This newer version removes all the “blame placed on the middle child” and adds a verse of forgiveness that may have some hidden meaning about the healed relationship between the four band members. It certainly got an edgier feel, and I love that Louise is now singing harmonies. It’s not unlike hearing Art Garfunkel sing harmonies on Kodachrome from the Central Park album.
“Eyes on You” was also released a bit early ahead of the album, another foot-tapping/fist pumping track that will become a favorite among the fans. While I do enjoy the fusion of emo-lyrics meets alternative back beat and grungy guitars meets poppy melodies sprinkled with sublime harmonies from Nina and Louise, a song like “Prince of Wales” probably isn’t going to make it to my Veruca Salt playlist anytime soon. The lyrics are few but concise and delivered with a deliberate determination, making me think it may be one of those VS tunes that sneak up on me after many listens.
If there is one highlight on the album it’s the fantastic “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl,” with a chorus that is guaranteed to stick to you like flypaper. The lyrics make mentions of Led Zeppelin and The B-52’s quickly during the chorus and the breakneck speed of the short two minutes leave me wanting more. “Empty Bottle” on the first couple of listens sounded like a throw away track, but now it’s one of my favorites. It’s a deeply emotional and dark ballad with a chorus that punches you in the gut. It has my favorite lyrics on the album, the whole song just leaves me in awe, but perhaps my favorite is “late December when we’re waking / there’s an unfamiliar aching / by the way you held my hand, held my heart / I didn’t notice it was breaking.”
“The Museum of Broken Relationships” was one of the tracks from their MMXIV EP released last year, and it’s more than welcome reprised here. The beginning riff reminds me of Forsythia, a song from their debut album American Thighs and perhaps it’s deliberate because when it was first released it relit my love for the band and I reminisced with the old albums as well as the two new tracks.
Veruca Salt is back with 14 new tracks, most of them are instant favorites while I suspect that the rest are still slowly growing on me. I pray that this is not just a onetime thing. The band sound better than ever, smarter than ever and yet it feels like a natural progression as if a time warp erased the last 18 years since Eight Arms to Hold You was released. Veruca Salt is here with Ghost Notes that easily builds on their legendary status, and should stop every other review that comes out about them to stop mentioning Seether!
Whoops, I just did it myself.July 15, 2015 Michael Scapp Contributing Writer