Out with some of the gloom
By Chris Kompanek
Friday, March 1, 2013
Veronica Falls was quickly labeled goth pop after releasing its self-titled debut, which featured a proliferation of minor chords and such song titles as “Found Love in a Graveyard” and “Misery.” But like most labels, this one expressed only part of the London quartet’s sound. Like the Ramones, Veronica Falls uses a lo-fi presentation to subvert otherwise ’50s pop-inspired hooks.
The band’s sophomore effort, “Waiting for Something to Happen,” peels back a couple layers of gloom to reveal 13 tracks that wouldn’t be out of place at a beach party, albeit one where a lot of plaid is worn. Roxanne Clifford’s voice has a resonant sincerity, while from the opening bars of “Tell Me,” guitarist James Hoare’s pared-down riffs sound more assured. The lyrics are equally simple, often structured around a simple plea -- “Tell me / Tell me everything” -- or advice -- “If you don’t know what’s right / Just take a look around.”
In other hands, the unadorned beauty could come off as monotonous, but Veronica Falls chooses its notes and words wisely. On “Broken Toy,” the hauntingly simple phrase “’Cause if you don’t care / You’ll never care” frames a misfit love story that’s surprisingly poignant.
There are a lot of easy pleasures to be found in “Waiting for Something to Happen,” but darkness still dances around the edges of Veronica Falls’ newfound glow.