Highlights: Found Love In A Graveyard, The Fountain, Bad Feeling
There’s only so much indie one can stomach throughout one year, and these past few months I’ve binned a lot (stuff like Real Estate’s well-written but frustratingly uninspired Days, for instance). This time, though, I listened up. For the London-based Veronica Falls have seemingly done their jangly, twee-pop homework a little better than others. They are hip all right, but they’ve got substance, too.
Perhaps the biggest attraction here is the tasteful and intense guitar sound that combines the rhythmic swagger of The Feelies with the darker Pixies overtones. And it does sound amazing: jangly, rockabilly, grungy parts. In terms of songwriting, they are closer to bands like The Pastels - only more polished, lacking in that crucial extra dimension that could make Veronica Falls a truly timeless album. But then timelessness is not something indie rock is so concerned with. After all, indie rock is a 40-minute pop pill, it rarely lasts longer. Thus, as expected, the songwriting is the main problem. While the vocal hooks of the opening jangly goth-pop epic or, say, "Bad Feeling", are convincing enough, the record’s second side is effort over ease.
However lovely and ingratiating its melody may sound, a song like “Stephen” is fairly routine twee pop, but those guitar lines, that opening bass (even though I’m certain it’s ripped off from some Doolittle song whose name escapes me at the moment)? Or the sheer surfing bliss of the guitar swinging its way through “All Eyes On You”? For the moment, those things lift Veronica Falls above hundreds and hundreds of their peers. Time will tell about the rest.