Published Jul 08, 2015Veruca Salt's last record with their original line-up, Eight Arms to Hold You, came out in 1997. That was a long time ago — for context, Titanic hit movie theatres the same year. Though there have been a few scattershot releases from watered down iterations of Veruca Salt in the intervening years, 2015's Ghost Notes is the first recorded output featuring all of the original band members since their grunge-pop halcyon days.
Thankfully, Ghost Notes is more than just an exercise in nostalgia. Leadoff track "The Gospel According to St. Me" is a bold proclamation from Louise Post, Nina Gordon and company that nothing has changed in 18 years. The record sounds vital in a way that is a little surprising for a band that has effectively been on hiatus for two decades. "Laughing In The Sugar Bowl" in particular stands proudly alongside past Veruca Salt singles "Seether" and "Volcano Girls" as another perfect (if slightly dopey) earworm. Their sound hasn't really evolved at all, but this record rocks pretty satisfyingly for the most part, and is a worthy heir to the throne of American Thighs. I could quibble over the record being a bit too long at 14 tracks, but the fact remains: if you liked Veruca Salt 20 years ago, there's no reason you won't like this.
In an era where the only prerequisite for reuniting your '90s band seems to be that all the band members have a pulse, Ghost Notes is a welcome return. Though it is unlikely to win them legions of new fans, Veruca Salt have delivered a solid reunion record. It's not perfect, but it never sounds phoned in. (El Camino)