With acclaimed singles and shows having set tongues wagging in both the US and their native UK, Veronica Falls unleash their first long-player to a certain air of anticipation. So it is just as well that, with it, they don't disappoint in the slightest.
The instant appeal of Veronica Falls is how they manage to counterbalance dark, sinister subject-matter with really catchy melodies. For instance, on Fountain, the lyrics,“I lost my baby to the winter/And I couldn't bear to hold you near/When everything I fear is haunting me,” are juxtaposed by an infectious-as-hell chorus, with pretty boy/girl harmonising and guitars dripping in reverb. Similarly, Found Love In A Graveyard has guitarist/vocalist Roxanne Clifford's voice soaring dreamily over backing vocals as she tells a tale of falling for a ghost.
The album certainly leans quite heavily towards indie of the mid-to-late 80s with a few earlier reference points too. There is something of The Wedding Present here, a bit of The Jesus and Mary Chain there and healthy dollops of 60s pop elsewhere. However, Veronica Falls' songs have such charm and verve that they don't feel remotely tired or derivative. Quite the opposite, in fact. And there are a few interesting diversions too, like Beachy Head, in which the story of a death-leap into the sea from a notorious UK suicide spot is delivered to the tune of fuzzy, B-movie surf-rock. Elsewhere, the lovely indie-pop of Come On Over ends proceedings on a high.
The weirdly upbeat gloom of Veronica Falls is a beguiling, intriguing coming together of dark and light and is really rather wonderful. Melancholy never seemed so much fun.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.