El Camino Media
Release Date: July 10, 2015
There are many things on my musical wishlist that I’m fairly certain will never occur. However, I did manage to see Black Sabbath on their only reunion tour with the original lineup, see The Gathering live on U.S. soil, and live to see a brand new Faith No More album. As if that weren’t enough already, the original lineup of Veruca Salt is back together for their first album since 1997’s alternative rock classic Eight Arms to Hold You. This is a day I dared not dream of and it does not disappoint.
Ghost Notes is everything longtime fans hoped it would be. It’s punchy. It’s clever. It’s gorgeous. It’s powerful. Most of all though, it features the unbeatable vocal duo of Louise Post AND Nina Gordon. I particularly love Gordon’s vocals and having them back together is Alternative Rock’s version of Lennon and McCartney giving it another go.
The band just flat out rock on Ghost Notes. It picks up exactly where Eight Arms to Hold You leaves off, combining big, power pop anthems and half-ballads with snarky lyrics and sugary sweet vocals. The first single, “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl,” is a definite highlight and exactly the kind of power pop gem that most of us hoped would follow “Volcano Girls.” “The Gospel According to Saint Me” opens the album with the same power pop goodness but it leans more towards the jangly rock side of the band’s sound. “Triage” takes the sound even heavier, reminding me more of the band’s American Thighs material.
While there are plenty of anthems to go around, the band also bring some new things to the table. “Prince of Wales” is an even-keeled gem with few lyrics but it comes off as both elegant and powerful as the bass drives the verses through the wisdom of age. The gentle “Lost to Me” is delightfully deceitful as it’s sweet sound is riddled with lyrics of brokenness and lost hope.
Overall, this is an excellent step back into the limelight for the Veruca Salt lineup that matters most. It combines the best of the Louise Post lineup and the Nina Gordon solo albums, but the rest of the band bring it all together by rocking out when the girls want to be soft spoken. It’s a beautiful fracture and it’s obvious that it’s what make the wheels turn on the Veruca Salt bus.
Reviewed by: Mark Fisher