Volume 90, Issue 89

Thursday, March 13, 1997



Pouring salt on the wound

Veruca Salt,
Eight Arms to Hold You

Veruca Salt rode 1994's riot girl wave to popularity only to be swept back out by the undertow caused by similar bands like Hole and Elastica.

But the Chicago, Illinois garage-style band is fighting the current, returning with the strength of eight arms, all in an effort to avoid being a one-hit wonder.

Eight Arms to Hold You features songs like "The Morning Sad" and "Benjamin," which sound like they are straight out of the '80s. Music fans who long for the musical style of pop artists like Belinda Carlisle and Jon Bon Jovi will take to these tracks right away and the twenty-somethings who listen will no doubt take a stroll down memory lane.

Veruca Salt tries to combine this sound with '80s metal guitar and a slow-fast tempo variance the industry has been inundated with since the early days of Nirvana – a hybrid especially evident in "Loneliness is worse." The combination compliments the vocals well and keeps the tracks from sounding too similar.

Veruca Salt's vocalists Nina Gordon and Louise Post are by no means spectacular as individual vocalists – the two either lack any kind of vocal range or choose not to explore it. But with the help of a harmonizer, they do manage to generate a powerful sound.

Some subtle allusions in the lyrics and titles on Eight Arms are good for trivia buffs to impress their friends, but leave the impression the band should be charged with petty theft. The title, Eight Arms to Hold You, was the working title for the Beatles Help album and the sixth track is entitled "With David Bowie."

The only merit "With David Bowie" has is the marketing potential of the video, which could easily get into heavy rotation on MTV and MuchMusic based on the name alone.

If this isn't bad enough, one lyric shamelessly reveals that the subject of the song "Seether" is Louise Post – as if that point was not obvious when countless interviewers asked the band this question.

Although the album is pleasant and relaxing to listen to and may produce a few hit singles, Eight Arms to Hold You will cause the band's older, Breeder-loving fans to slip away. But take heart, Eight Arms grunge tendencies may grab hold of today's adolescent Kurt-Cobain-is-dead bandwagon jumpers.

– Kevin Gale

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997