Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Veronica Falls, a band that released its final album in 2013, is probably among the most contemporary music I listen to. There are a lot of reasons for this, but chief among them is the paradox that as music has become more available, it has become increasingly difficult to find music I like. Certainly, part of it is simply that I lack the energy and time these days to explore; I don’t have the freedom I did in my college years to sit around and do nothing but listen to an album. Something about streaming music also plays a role – the stuff I hear online without having a physical copy rarely registers with me, even when I like it. Even when I shift strategies and try to rely on record labels (that Veronica Falls was on Slumberland certainly helped convince me to give them a listen), I fail to follow through. How many Slumberland emails have I read and then ignored?

What I Think of This Album

Veronica Falls is proudly retro, which I suppose helps explain my love for them. There is a very late ‘80s/early ‘90s sound at work here. The band takes the basic formula of Black Tambourine and adds some of the darkness of the Chills’ “Pink Frost,” and a hint of shoegaze texture, too. The doomed outlook is, of course, timeless already. That said, I don’t find this to be derivative or artificial. It’s very much of a piece with the approach of the first Pains of Being Pure at Heart album (another Slumberland band) in that it gives a loving and respectful nod to the past but undeniably exists in the present.

The clean lead vocals of guitarist Roxanne Clifford are a consistent highlight, as are the backing harmonies (by Clifford, guitarist James Hoare, and drummer Patrick Doyle); the sometimes jangly and sometimes spindly guitar work of Clifford and Hoare should win you over; and the melodies are absolutely wonderful. Beyond that, there is a dark mystique that blankets the entire album (much like the reverb that does the same), from the suicidal “Beachy Head” to the inappropriately sunny “Misery” to the frenetic “Found Love In a Graveyard.”

The pure pop of “Misery” is matched only by the Tommy James-referencing “Come On Over” (which starts out like a Velvet Underground song). The spooky title track will stick in your brain until you are mercifully released from this existence. Throughout, there is a perverse delight in how Clifford prettily – and often cheerily – delivers lines like “Misery / Taking over me ” or “I’ve got a bad feeling / A bad bad feeling / And it’s not going away” (“Bad Feeling”) or “I’m broken-hearted / Dearly departed” (“Found Love In a Graveyard”). The bass line of invitation-to-adultery “Stephen” sounds like it came from the Pixies’ “Debaser” (and later homage “A Good Idea” by Sugar).

It’s unclear to me where this band originated – perhaps Scotland but also perhaps London, or some mix of the two. I am compelled to note that this is the second example in my collection of a title track also being the band name (the other is ”Book of Love” on Book of Love by Book of Love).

The Best Thing About This Album

Everything on here is great, so it feels diminishing to say that the way Clifford and the others stack the melody and harmonies on “I’ve got a bad feeling / A bad bad feeling / And it’s not going away” is my favorite thing.

Release Date

September, 2011

The Cover Art

A+. The font, the spacing, the sepia-ish tone, the branches, the old structure.

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