Surprisingly tough and vicious, Veruca Salt's fourth album -- appropriately and simply titled IV -- is the record Louise Post attempted to make with 2000's Resolver, the album where she took control of the group after Nina Gordon's departure. At that point in time, Post's adherence to alt-rock conventions made Resolver seem a little stale and turgid, but it also didn't help that she recorded it in the aftermath of considerable emotional turmoil; the record reflected that upheaval, but not necessarily in compelling ways, since it often seemed messy and unfocused. Conversely, IV doesn't arrive with a dramatic backstory, but it packs considerably more drama on a sheer musical level. Post doesn't stray from Veruca Salt's strengths -- this is still the sound of mid-'90s alt-rock, equal parts heavy grunge and wistful, witchy pop -- but her band is tightly wound and hits hard, giving her songs a muscle they lacked last time around. Also, her writing is confident and catchy, whether she's writing rockers (which she does often) or ballads or songs that fall somewhere in between ("Blissful Queen" and "Salt Flat Epic," which truly does sprawl like an epic). IV may lack the humor and sexiness that made American Thighs so memorable, but a decade after Veruca Salt's heyday, Louise Post has gotten tougher and stronger, as this assured comeback proves, and in its own way, that's equally appealing.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine