Solitude Sounds: Veruca Salt – Ghost Notes – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Isolation gives us the chance to give older albums a deeper listen, remember what was good about them. Here’s the first in an occasional series:
This was a reunion that slipped a little under the radar, with Louise Post and Nina Gordon returning for the fifth Veruca Salt album in 2015. Not a reunion many thought they needed. Back in their heyday, Veruca Salt traded in heavy power pop, catchy tunes accompanied by heavy riffs and hard drumming.
After around 15 years apart, they certainly hadn’t gone soft. Opener The Gospel According to Saint Me contains all the above hallmarks of their ‘classic’ material. They set their stall out, singing “it’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy”. And it does, following track Black and Blonde kicks serious ass, drums are walloped, and guitar riffs bite down hard while maintaining their melodic instinct. Without the heavy guitars, songs like Eyes On You and I’m Telling You Now would be kind of throwaway pop, but the way Veruca Salt play them gives them more… weight. Prince of Wales, Come Clean Dark Thing and The Museum of Broken Relationships rock like prime 90’s Smashing Pumpkins while Love You Less and Laughing In The Sugar Bowl do the pop/grunge thing perfectly.
At times they can come across as ‘angsty-Alanis’ on tracks like The Sound of Leaving and Empty Bottle. Better is the brooding metal of Triage. Perhaps it’s a bit long at 54 minutes and 14 tracks, maybe the repetitive Lost to Me could have been dropped, but fans of the band in the early 90s will love this, along with anyone with a taste for heavy guitar pop.