Verbena – La Musica Negra

Verbena
La Musica Negra

This is the third record put out by Verbena and their second with Capitol after the Dave Grohl produced Into the Pink. Verbena clearly pay tribute to the heyday of grunge and bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and their kindred spirits. Singer and guitarist Scott Bondy is very powerful in both aspects of his performance, and he is the focal point of the music. Their sound will bring you back to your youth, but with some added features.
“Way Out West” starts the disc off on a hard-rocking note with some storming guitars and great backing vocals on the chorus. The song namechecks different songs from the past, and it’s a downright catchy tune. There is some really nice guitar solos here as the song brings in classic rock, grunge, and punk influences, making an anthemic and enjoyable song to sing along with. “Killing Floor (Get Down on It)” follows with a grinding, bluesy, hard-rock tune with an underlying punk attitude. Here Bondy puts in a great performance with a slight snarl to his vocals and extremely catchy guitar.
“It’s Alright, it’s Okay (Jesus Told Me So)” is a hard rock/grunge hybrid with some crunchy guitars and powerful vocals. Bondy’s vocals, while at their most nasal, are kind of aggravating but the power and crunch of this song are pretty neat, anyone wanting a new anthem to head bang to, here it is. “Camellia” goes for the pre-requisite ballad and will leave you wishing that it wasn’t included. There appears to be some bad keyboard here, and the song is very flat and lacking in the strength that proceeded it. “Devil in Miss Jones” returns to the bluesy grunge formula for the better after a few songs in the classic rock mode; here the band regains the momentum they had before. Boyd’s vocals are very well done and captivating here while the band shows the muscle in their music with some strong drumming and Boyd’s raucous guitar playing.
La Musica Negra will bring you back to the heyday of hard rock and grunge since this is clearly where the band is coming from. It’s not very hard to see why this band is one of Dave Grohl’s favorites; they share a lot in common with the groups he’s worked with like Nirvana and Foo Fighters. The band gets off to a good start with the first couple of tracks that are fun while they last, but it really hits a misstep in the middle with a couple of the lighter songs. Occasionally they will hit their mark on the more sentimental songs, but they are much stronger when they let rip and bring you back to the early and mid 90s grunge scene. This is clearly oriented for alt-rock radio play, and as such it is a nice breather from the nu-metal and pop-punk that are the mainstays of the format. It’s a good record if you’d like to look back to your youth and remember those sounds; it’s fun for that cause though you may forget it after it’s done playing.