Veruca Salt Releases Ghost Notes: A Revisit to Eight Arms to Hold You – Album Review
Oh my, I just discovered today that one of my all-time favorite bands, Veruca Salt, will be releasing a new album, Ghost Notes in just a few days. I’ve listened to the new singles that they’ve released since the ultimate female dynamic duo Nina Gordon and the incomparable Louise Post have reunited (as well as the original members of Veruca Salt), and they sound dare I say better than ever. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into Ghost Notes, but to momentarily quench my thirst for new Veruca Salt music, I’ve decided to revisit their 1997 masterpiece Eight Arms to Hold You.
Their second full-length album surpasses their debut American Thighs musically, perhaps because of newly recruited producer Bob Rock. He seemed to have brought out the best in Nina and Louise, especially vocally. The songs that were brought to the table this time around were still considered alternative rock or even grunge, yet amid the heavy, d-tuning sounds – a vivid and sometimes poppy feel underlies the genre.
Rob O’Connor from Rolling Stone critiqued the unbelievable vocals of these girls as unflattering monotones. One of the greatest things about Veruca Salt is their fantastic and unique vocal harmonies, showcased on a gem like Shutterbug, where they put forth an emotional pleading feel in their vocals. It sends tingles to the back of my neck.
To name your album after a discarded Beatles idea takes (ahem) a lot of balls, but in my opinion they pulled it off. Nina and Louise are probably an even talent. While Shutterbug or One Last Time exhibit Louise’s tormented emotional vocal and lyrical delivery, Nina is capable of a similar kind of song with Loneliness Is Worse. Louise’s Don’t Make Me Prove It is equally as catchy, yet it has a bit more substance to it. Volcano Girls momentarily segues into a new verse of Seether from their debut album; it’s the best part for me.
Not all the tracks are winners. Louise’s Sound of the Bell which reminds me of The Go-Go’s circa 1984, also sounds a bit redundant of Volcano Girls with the ♫I don’t wanna..♫ chorus. I also don’t know why Louise insists on playing every guitar solo, or why she would include them in every song. While they are slightly more in key on this album compared to American Thighs, they stand out most of the time, and not always in a good way. This album should have been much bigger, but between ignorant reviews and the choice of singles may have hindered it from being bigger. For instance, instead of Straight, a relatively bland song, put out, a song with a huge appeal, perhaps even bigger than Volcano Girls.
Veruca may have gotten a lot of their titles from other inspired ideas, but their music is in a class by itself. I don’t know what I would have done in those lousy 1990s when grunge was at its heights without bands like Veruca Salt. If you’re a Veruca Salt fan and you cannot wait until the new album comes out, reminisce with this amazing album.July 12, 2015 Michael Scapp Contributing Writer