"Ineed release/ From my disease," announces Verbena singer-guitarist Scott Bondy in "Submissionary," and he doesn't need to say what disease it is. From its surging meld of metal and punk, it's clear this Birmingham, Ala., trio suffers from Sub Pop syndrome. Rather than actually seek release, however, the band took the homeopathic approach: It asked Nirvana veteran (and current Foo Fighter) Dave Grohl to produce "In the Pink," its second album.
Although Grohl has embroidered the group's sound here and there, most of these 13 songs sound more like Nirvana's "Bleach" than its "Nevermind." The most striking ones, however, distinguish themselves from Sub Pop's original boys-club sound with the harmonies of bassist Anne Marie Griffin. Her vocals open up the sound of such songs as "Sympathy Was Dead" and "Baby Got Shot," varying the band's attack and providing a faint hint of the trad-country duets that are associated with Alabama more commonly than grunge. Grohl did a fine job, but what Verbena really needs is more Griffin.
Appearing Wednesday at the Black Cat with Ursula Major and 555. To hear a free Sound Bite from Verbena, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8123. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)