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Verbena's approach to guitars doesn't waste time with formalities. As with their lyrics, there's no mincing words, not an iota of foreplay -- just a full tilt dash to home base. In the same line of descent as willowy rock rakes Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, vocalist Scott Bondy sounds like a spoiled child who's used to getting what he wants; he spikes Verbena's saucy Power Pop with more than a dash of Glam impertinence. The Birmingham, Ala., trio also features the dangerously seductive Ann Marie Griffin, who provides the backing vocals of a debauched Southern debutante from a Tennessee Williams play. Verbena's second album Souls for Sale is rangy stuff, adding flourishes of country twang and broken-down blues a la Exile on Main Street. Their major-label debut Into the Pink (1999) bears David Grohl's heavy imprint, whose production made Verbena sound like the Southern word for "Nirvana." The band's work is a daring foray into the seamy underside of rock stardom -- the drugs, sexual power, egotism, and unreality. Verbena wrestle with the demons of fame and transform their struggle into graphic snapshots in song.
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