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Album review | ALT-ROCK

Veruca Salt, ‘Ghost Notes’

When the Chicago foursome Veruca Salt burst into the rock world 20-ish years ago, it quickly became known for its ferocity. The title of the quartet’s debut (“American Thighs”) nodded to AC/DC’s swagger; the band enlisted megaproducer Bob Rock for its followup; and gritty tracks like “All Hail Me” and “Volcano Girls” channeled hard rock’s crunch, adding Nina Gordon and Louise Post’s spun-sugar harmonies and gimlet-eyed lyrics for extra pop. Gordon departed in 1998 and Post trucked on until the mid-2000s; the band’s original lineup reformed in 2013. “Ghost Notes” unsurprisingly reflects (and reflects on) the band’s maturity, but retains the confidence and playfulness that made it an alt-rock touchstone. Rock gems like “The Gospel According to Saint Me” and “Black and Blonde” possess the gnarled potency of the band’s earlier material; the slow-burning “Museum of Broken Relationships,” meanwhile, shows how the Gordon/Post harmonies can simultaneously convey joy and heartache. When the band stretches out, as on the gorgeous, feedback-covered “Prince of Wales,” the results are stunning. (Out today)

MAURA JOHNSTON

ESSENTIAL “Prince of Wales”

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Maura Johnston can be reached at maura@maura.com.