Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Sound Check


Veruca SaltVeruca Salt
“Ghost Notes”
El Camino

Sonicly, there has not been a lot that has changed about Veruca Salt during the past two decades. The guitars are not quite as crunchy as they once were, but the overall feel of a Veruca Salt song has remained more or less the same. So what sets “Ghost Notes” apart from everything Veruca Salt has done since 1998 can be summed up in one name: Nina Gordon. Hearing Gordon’s voice once again ripping through songs alongside Louise Post is as welcome a return to form as any in recent memory. “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl” is the track that most purely announces that the Veruca Salt you loved in the ’90s is back. It is fast, raucous and catchy as hell. In fact, the entire album is likely to get repeated plays on the media device of your choosing, because while it may not all be a direct callback to 1995, every note of it works. CV


Between the Buried and MeBetween the Buried and Me
“Coma Ecliptic”
Metal Blade Records

Between the Buried and Me has been one of those bands that has tickled at every music lover’s inner math nerd. The prog-metal outfit’s catalog is full of complex melodies, odd time signatures and sweeping, kaleidoscopic sounds. “Coma Ecliptic” is no different, except that it happens to be a concept album as well. Unfortunately, this might be a case of one ingredient too many, as “Coma Ecliptic” winds up feeling under-done in spots. There’s a lot of stuff coming at you from a bunch of directions, and there never seems to be a point where the band manages to actually throw a saddle on all the chaos and ride it anywhere meaningful. It is all still brilliantly complex and fun to wade through, but, ultimately, you never feel like it means anything. CV


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