By Nolan Siegler
With a few potent singles released on a labels that are adored by many fringe haircut sporting fans, Veronica Falls seemed to have achieved what other indie-poppers can only dream of. Write songs that pay homage to their influences? Check. Release several singles on some of their favorite record labels? Check. Appeal to an audience with like-minded musical tastes? Check. Many would be satisfied accomplishing these personal feats, but the London quartet has taken their love of everything twee to the next logical progression.
Veronica Falls has managed to continue their successful string of bittersweet songs that delve into themes of heartbreak and loneliness on their self-titled full length. Sound familiar? With the recent explosion of C86 influenced guitar pop, naysayers may declare Veronica Falls as another generic representation of the jangly melancholic sound that was reintroduced by the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
While it’s true that their self-titled isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel in terms of indie pop, it does provide enough depth and structure for any listener keen on the Cranberries to dub as an instant favorite. Without sounding like a compilation, Veronica Falls revisits recently released singles while expanding upon them in a cohesive manner. Previous single and album opener “Found Love in a Graveyard” foreshadows the upcoming tracks with a bleak lyrical tone and Lou Reed inspired guitar chops, which differentiates from the warm tones of contemporaries Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls. While others are perfecting the sound of reverb laden chords reminiscent of the Beach Boys, Veronica Falls utilizes a direct and brittle guitar approach that nods to Mr. Reed and his Velvets, sometimes leaving little to the imagination.
What the band does have in common with their contemporaries is what one would expect from any Slumberland release. Harmonized boy-girl vocals, plenty of tambourines and a fair share of jangly guitars are graciously woven into the album to express gratitude to their favorite cult label. Anyone who bops their heads to Brilliant Colors or ran across the fabulous 2010 reissue of Black Tambourine singles will find a sense of familiarity with this collection of songs. While tracks like “The Box” or “Beachy Head” paint a picture of a band performing on the sun kissed shores of California, the majority of Veronica Falls retains a cleverly disguised sense of sadness; a trademark of Slumberland acts.
To some, ethereal compositions that are littered with references to indie-pop pioneers are nothing new in the realm of today’s indie scene. Why revisit the past when you can look to the future? While it’s true that Veronica Falls is a testament to the pop sounds of both 80’s and 90’s indie, the immediacy and cohesive nature of the album will likely appeal to flannel adjourned individuals and be nominated as their personal Autumn soundtracks. Along with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Dum Dum Girls, Veronica Falls is proving that the amount of hidden treasures in the past are well worth revisiting.