Waiting for Something to Happen
Feb 11, 2013 Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - Grimes
A swirling, centripetal force guides Veronica Falls' sophomore effort Waiting for Something to Happen. The album's 13 wistful numbers have a billowing jangle reminiscent of Felt, Talulah Gosh, The Aislers Set—really, name any C86 touchstone or one of their acolytes. But more so than on their fine self-titled debut LP, Veronica Falls sound like a band here, a well-oiled outfit replete with formidable rhythmic chops and dynamic band interplay doubtlessly honed from over a year's worth of gigs.
Singer/guitarists Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare recall indie luminaries The Pastels, Versus, and Comet Gain in their frequent girl/boy swapping of perspectives. But they're somehow more sinister, exhibited in how their saccharine melodies belie morose lyrics. This is exemplified nicely on "Buried Alive," as Clifford urges, "Cover me in flowers/Let me count the hours/Cause I can't wait/To meet my fate" over a see-saw guitar flourish recalling '90s indie pop greats Velocity Girl.
On the snarling propulsion of "So Tired," Clifford sounds utterly disillusioned: "Take me far away to someone or something true." "Daniel" is a stirringly vulnerable number that's a distant cousin of The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes." It swaps The Velvets' wizened sense of perfidy for adolescent ennui, as Clifford pleads desperately, "Please believe me," as if it's her last chance to convince a lover not to leave.
"It's our last conversation/There's a new age in the making," sings Clifford on closing number "Last Conversation." There's a certain dignified resignation that is palpable, and the recognition even that the relationship is far past its expiration date. "I fell deeper down and I fell further out and I know there's a hope for me," she keens with a guarded optimism, capturing the prevailing sentiment at the core of this record—relationships may be the key component of life's shit pageant, but they're also one of its only hopes for redemption. Veronica Falls have their finger on the pulse of these vicissitudes, and they explore them with wide-eyed clarity. (www.veronicafalls.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10