Heartache, boredom, rejection and desire may seem like the forgotten, simple tribulations of teendom but if the new album from Veronica Falls is anything to go by, they can remain the emotional cornerstones of adulthood too.
Waiting For Something to Happen is only the band’s second full length record and by the sounds of things, they have some growing up to do, but by our reckoning they don’t need to. Well, not quite yet.
Pulling the pace back from their 60s infused debut, the focus here is much more on the idiosyncrasies of British guitar music and they actually pull it off quite wonderfully. ‘Teenage’ is a typical example, its dreamy slant cut straight from the quaint charms of C86 and proving to be truly brilliant, perfectly formed pop.
“Driving late at night/I’ll let you listen to the music you like/Then I’ll drop you home”, singer Roxanne Clifford purrs with adolescent sweetness. ‘Falling Out’ is more of the same, while the bouncy title track paints a picture of her own apathetic tendencies. ‘Buried Alive’ is another highlight and with its sentiment of “I wanna get sick/I wanna catch everything you’ve ever caught” is the most romantically gross love song we’ve ever heard. However ‘Daniel’ is a thing of stripped back beauty, a heartbreaking ballad of disarming honesty- which admittedly recalls ‘Anyone Else Isn’t You’ by sensitive 80s twee peddlers, The Field Mice – and is the most obviously affecting song on display.
What they’ve taken away in driving, garage rock they’ve added with the genteel frenzy of David Gedge style guitars and an undeniable grasp of contagious hooks and lullaby harmonies. Because it feels like they’ve found a winning formula they’re sticking to, at times it can get a little samey and 13 really good tracks could probably be cut down to 10 brilliant ones.
However, while there’s no drastic innovation at play, it is shamelessly lovely and sometimes that’s all you need. Its daydreamy pace and hazy indie tendencies obviously mean its drenched in navel gazing sentiment but that didn’t stop anything being great.
It’s the kind of music you imagine Zooey Deschanel listening to while she’s making decorative marzipan unicorns and we don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – So shoot us! There is something liberating listening to a band who understand the understated and who get the deceptively tricky nuances of a brilliant chorus, something so often neglected in contemporary pop music.
Waiting For Something to Happen may not be life altering but nor is it trite or throwaway. All the ‘jangle pop’ references and Lush comparisons must wear thin, but then what can a band come to expect when they’re quite so patent with their influences? Promo photos of the band find them lying on a field or in doe-eyed thoughtful mode. It’s an elbow patch away from twee pastiche, but it’s also curiously likeable.
While it’s not a million miles from their first album, it’s enough of a distance to let you know they’re not one trick ponies. Certainly, the album is less of a gloomy effort than their debut and more emotionally available but is no less love worn and caught between sadness and hope: a snapshot of puerile impatience, hungry for life to start.
It’s a soundtrack for sprawling car drives, holding hands, weeping dejectedly through your overgrown indie fringe, dancing with anti abandon, and fragile love affairs. Basically relatable to anyone who can push past its knowing cuteness.
This is an album that has all the hallmarks of classic indie pop: deep-seated wanderlust, desiring adventure but fearful of change, in love with love, egotistical and yet self conscious – but it can’t be possibly be called angsty on account of its ultimate positivity. There’s a strong sense that it’s not cut from the same ennui-tainted “Waiting for something to happen” Thom Yorke howled about in ‘The Bends’ but more childish expectancy, with just a touch of polite rebellion.
It’s not emotional maturity that grows here, on the contrary, more flourishing confusion and dismay over remaining in romantic teenage mode while everyone else moves on. Where they go from here is another question as the charming juvenile neuroses may wear thin a few albums in, but if this is the sound of resolute youth then why grow up yet?
On Bella Union records February 4thBella Union