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2011 album from the British Indie quartet. The very best pop music mixes sweetness and light with dissonance and darkness, injects a perfectly addictive harmony with something sadder, stranger. Think of the gloomy melodrama of 'Tell Laura I Love Her,' which kick started the teenage tragedy song craze in the '60s, the bleak farewell of 'Seasons in the Sun' in the '70s, even The Smiths' 'Girlfriend in a Coma' in the '80s: all meltingly beautiful melodies with something considerably darker lurking at their hearts; the black cloud on a summer's day, the bruise on a perfect face. It's into this long and storied lineage that London four-piece Veronica Falls quite happily fit. Welcome to the slanted and enchanted world of Veronica Falls, where serendipity, subversion, providence and a shared love for Roky Erickson's worldview all play a crucial part.
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Slumberland Records has been going through quite a renaissance these past few years, with an influx of new and exciting bands making the label perhaps even more popular now than it was in its early-’90s heyday. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart get the most ink, but London quartet Veronica Falls may just be the best act on the Slumberland roster right now, based on their debut album. Their music falls in line with what you expect from a Slumberland band – Velvets-inspired noise-pop softened with the harmonies and sweetness of early-’60s girl groups, with just a pinch of amateurism – but these guys and girls simply do it better than anyone else. Their greatest strengths are their ability to maintain a thrillingly constant tension between light and darker shades, and they also seem to always know the exact perfect moment to kick a song into a galloping double-time or to slow it down. They’ve also got an interesting guitar duo in Roxanne Clifford (who is also the lead singer) and James Hoare, both of whom spend most of the album’s 36 minutes trying to out-Sterling Morrison the other (especially on “Right Side Of My Brain”).
They deliver beautiful harmonies, spot-on instrumentation, and slightly dark lyrics, sounding somewhat like Mazzy Star, but with a more upbeat undertone. The songs take us on a melodramatic journey through teenage tragedy, lurking depression, and dark hearts, all while leaving us feeling oddly upbeat about it all. While singing about how they "Found Love In a Graveyard," you may find yourself feeling oddly happy- because they did find love. They make "Misery" and having a "Bad Feeling" seem more than bearable. With the progression of each of their songs, they bring the listener farther into their world, which is slightly dark, but mostly dreamy.
Veronica Falls is an album that should be not be ignored, but rather put on rotation for quite a while. They are masters of making the macabre seem seductive and even joyful. So, the next time you feel like grave dancing or chasing shadows, invite Veronica Falls along, because they will show you the unexpected joy in the darkness.
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with a punky, melodic D.I.Y.Read more