Coxon and Veruca Salt channel ’90s success

Graham Coxon

“Love Travels at Illegal Speeds”

4 out of 5 stars

Most of you are at least familiar with the guitar playing of Graham Coxon, yet most of you probably don’t realize it. He was the axe-man responsible for the guitar work of Blur’s big U.S. hit “Song 2.”

It has been four years since Coxon split with Blur, but with the way things sound right now, Coxon may very well be better off on his own. It seems that he keeps getting better with each subsequent release. By combining the guitar prowess featured on Blur’s self-titled 1997 album with the witty and charming songwriting of Parklife and The Great Escape, the formula certainly plays like a winner.

It seems to me that Graham is standing in small company when it comes to all things musical. The art of a good rock guitar record is one that has gone by the wayside in recent years, with many a failed expedition to try and reclaim it. Coxon does just that however, and makes it seem easy in the process. There are a few quieter, down-tempo songs on this record, but they only help to enhance the experience.

Really though, there isn’t a single bad song on this. So if you like good, crunchy British-style guitar rock, look no further than this.

Key Tracks: “Standing On My Own Again,” “Tell It Like It Is,” “Don’t Let Your Man Know”

Veruca Salt


3.5 out of 5 stars

I was enjoying a flashback to 1994, a year where Lillehammer enraptured us, baseball disheartened us and the delightful Dakota Fanning was brought into the world. Oh, and Veruca Salt’s “Seether” was a moderately successful song on the radio. All of this was brought to my attention due to the arrival of a brand new Veruca Salt album, its first since 2000 and second without founding member and co-frontwoman Nina Gordon.

The name “IV” is a little bit tepid, but that’s the only time you can hang that adjective on this album. I’m going to be perfectly blunt about this: This record has no business sounding as good as it does, which is very good indeed. If you’re familiar with Veruca Salt’s previous material, then this album shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

Sonically, this record sounds like it came straight out of 1994 with its combination of alt-rock and heavy grunge with, of course, the vocal work of founding member Louise Post. But where other bands’ attempts at something like this fall flat, this album sounds surprisingly fresh. Veruca Salt, I tip my cap to you: I didn’t think you had it in you.

Key Tracks: “Closer,” “Perfect Love,” “So Weird”