After so many band reunions the last few years, I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of how they work. First, the band announces the reunion, which is largely met by groans as everyone thinks about how old the band has gotten and how desperate it is that they’re reuniting. Then the album comes out, and everyone listens to it and just hopes that it isn’t totally embarrassing and that it doesn’t make you completely forget the band’s prime. Afterwards, everyone tries to forget that the whole thing ever happened.
Ghost Notes, the first album with Veruca Salt’s original lineup in 18 years, legitimately breaks the reunion album mold. If the measure of a reunion album is how it stacks up against their original material, this might even be the best any band has done yet — Ghost Notes possibly surpasses 1994’s American Thighs as Veruca Salt’s best album. Rather than seeming tired or desperate, the band sounds rejuvenated.
Veruca Salt chose a good time to reunite, as I’ve felt their influence looming over music lately (certainly this list has already had some bands that seem inspired by them). Led by the reunited duo of Nina Gordon and Luise Post, they slide right into today’s musical landscape without sounding out of place. And the songs on Ghost Notes capture what made Veruca Salt popular to begin with — the loud guitars and catchy choruses — while also pushing their music into new places and sounding more mature (though thankfully they still don’t take themselves too seriously).
On the opening track, Gordon sings “it’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy”, and for 54 minutes Ghost Notes certainly lives up to that promise. That run time is arguably a little too long, but it’s a forgivable flaw after so many years of silence.