Friday, 18 January 2013

Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen



"I've got a bad feeling, and it's not going away," sings Veronica Falls vocalist Roxanne Clifford on "Bad Feeling", a track from their self-titled debut album released in 2011. Take what you will from these lyrics; just know that I've given Veronica Falls sophomore album a fair few listens, on a clean slate. After going out of my way to be thoroughly disappointed by what could be considered a new and appealing artist, it's hard to wipe that from memory. It made me check out their debut album, and that too was a disappointing listen. By now, you could change my disappointed / disappointing words to depressed / depressing and all would be correct. Emotionally provoking indie pop is a hard act to pull off. Once described by one of my favourite music related films High Fidelity, Belle & Sebastian were labelled as old sad bastard music. To Jack Black's character, that would simply make Veronica Falls young sad bastard music. Belle & Sebastian are one of my most listened and cherished artists, so it's hard to appreciate weaker indie pop, so Veronica Falls already have a cliff to climb even before Waiting For Something To Happen is first played. 

Now I honestly could go from track to track and slate Veronica Falls, but I don't quite want to do that this time. It's all too easy to sound like a pretentious asshole, something I accept at times, but not this time. See here's my point: Veronica Falls are not very good. Cue the backlash from Veronica Falls fan boys, no I'm serious. So now after revealing my very open and honest opinion of Veronica Falls, it's time to get on to the music.

When people talk about organic music, they're talking about how natural it sounds. So when people describe Veronica Falls as organic, well... they're wrong. Veronica Falls open their second album with one of their best tracks to date, "Tell Me". Although I'm a little bit sick of boy/girl harmonies right now (except Low), "Tell Me" is a standout indie pop thriller by a band that are most known for misery. The best guitar solo occurs on this track. I'd argue that the best effects have been used on this track, but that's saved for a little treat towards the end of this review.  Veronica Falls above all have to stick to their indie pop, sad orientated aesthetic. If they don't do this, they might as well not release a second album. Thankfully for them and their fanbase, they have done what was asked of them and kept it simple, sad and indie pop. This does however mark them down for a lack of originality and classes them as a one trick pony, something Belle & Sebastian manages to stay out of. 

The similarities between tracks are more noticeable than ever. "Broken Toy" has an interesting theme, but falls down on the structure and on the guitar riff. The drumming continues to rattle my cage with the tiny varieties that just quite aren’t enough to satisfy my needs. The titular track is no different. Structures, guitar riffs and percussion is the downfall of Veronica Falls. Now the lyrical themes may be interesting, I’ll admit, many of these tracks can be heard just for the vocals / lyrics, but that's not enough. Again, "If You Still Want Me" has the same kind of percussion, structure and guitar riffs as the previous two tracks I've mentioned. It's incredibly hard to rate something that sounds almost identical. It seems like Veronica Falls have written one song, musically, and then made 12 more based off that original track. The album title is really meaningful to me right now; I'm just Waiting For Something To Happen

They do deliver a bright and enjoyable single in "Teenage". Unfortunately it's singled out not because it's good, but because it's the best they have to offer. Believe me, I'd love to sit here and compliment Veronica Falls till the early hours, but I just can't do that when I'm hearing mediocre indie pop from four people that will be developing wrinkles on their face early because they never smile. The lyrics to "Teenage" are stronger and memorable, such as the kind-hearted but cold: "Driving when at night, I’ll let you listen to the music you like"

Here's a list of tracks I don't like: "Shooting Star", "My Heart Beats", "Buried Alive", "Falling Out", "So Tired". Although I've namedropped almost half of the album, it would save both you and I time by believing me that these tracks are nothing more than a simple guitar riff with repetitive drumming and average harmonies. Yes, all of them. Right, that brings us to the beautiful "Everybody's Changing". An acoustic guitar riff starts the track off smoothly, with a brilliant vocal by Clifford. The vocal progression sounds like all those scrap tracks I just mentioned, but it has a deeper meaning and atmosphere. "Daniel" sounds like Tender Trap with a male vocalist. This is one of the simpler tracks with lighter instrumentation, an effect that works for Veronica Falls... Or it could be that the frustrating drumming isn't present.

There's something not quite right about the best track also being the last track and the longest track on the album. "Last Conversation" has the best drumming production, the best vocal progressions and the best guitar effects on the album. If only Veronica Falls would follow suit with this one track, then maybe this album wouldn’t be a push over. It's a shame that Waiting For Something To Happen features only three respectable, single-esque material. "Last Conversation" is a welcomed end to the album, like Veronica Falls self-titled album, the final track saves it from a red zone review.

Veronica Falls haven’t quite developed as musicians over the two years since their debut album. Some listeners might have an emotional connection to Veronica Falls music, I don't. If this album didn't have the three single-related tracks, it would be nothing. I would honestly rather listen to a collection of top40 hits than be put through those five terrible tracks that are mentioned above. 
~Eddie

4.2

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