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orlaith-o-byrne
2nd March 2013

Album: Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen

The London four-piece veer into more traditional pop territory with their sophomore effort
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TLDR

A label formed in the wake of dream pop triplet Cocteau Twins, Bella Union seem to have a clear direction in the artists they choose to work with. No different are the melodic LondonersVeronicaFalls, a band with youthfulness managing to survive the curse of the second album with more breathy soprano harmonies from vocalists Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare than there are future X-Factor contestants singing their Saturday afternoon hearts out on Market Street.

The quartet’s self-titled debut was largely well received, and deservedly so when peppered with pop lovelies like Found Love in a Graveyard and Bad Feeling. Equally, it was let down by steadily unimaginative drum patterns and a tambourine that at first glitters through every track, though soon becomes tiresome as it impedes on the listeners ability to hear anything else (listen out for it in the first track and you wont be able to block it out for the rest of the album!). More trivially, their somewhat futile denial of a C86 influence is trite when their sound can be so remarkably well fitted to such a category.

Waiting For Something To Happen is a satisfying advancement, with varied and thought out songs like the first single Teenage providing the fluctuations in beat that their first album lacks. What’s more, heart-fluttering chord progressions classic of their best songs are still present, familiar and comforting like the last leg of a drunken walk home. Highlights come in the form of poppy bass track So Tired with Sonic Youth circa 2006 vibes and an ethereal grunge chant Shooting Star; the impressive equivalent to the debut album’s ‘gothic’ hit Beachy Head. Perhaps at their very best is the affectedly quaint lyricism of track Buried Alive that they are so practised at: I wanna get sick/ I wanna catch everything you’ve ever caught”. Charming! Winding down to a composed finish with Last Conversation, it’s clear that Veronica Falls are in possession of the song-writing talent required for captivating four-minute jingles.

Clifford may fall short of the expressive performance achieved by the band’s elder influences (have you heard Elizabeth Fraser’s performance of Song to the Siren?), but a modest indie album is something Veronica Falls can most certainly deliver. Whilst sticking to their broken toy guns, what they have achieved here is a calmer and more delicately contrasting version of their debut. An admirable accomplishment.


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