London indie quartet’s second album burns brightly, but briefly.
Chris Beanland 2013-01-23
Veronica Falls' second album burns brightly but briefly, like a shooting star in the night sky. Waiting for Something to Happen offers a largely breezy succession of heavily harmonised odes to teenage snogging and sneaking in through the back door. You sense the album's title also alludes to the small-town ennui for which popular music has often been the best remedy.
There is something marvellously innocent in the sugary vocals, stripped-down guitar and drum lines here. And, despite the youth of the record's four protagonists, there is also a strong smell of times past.
The thrusting So Tired tugs you briefly through a wormhole where videos of Lush, Sleeper and Elastica are still showing – though Veronica Falls would probably prefer comparisons to cooler contemporaries like Comet Gain, Electrelane and The Cribs. If we were on a word association game show, which word would you choose to go with the album's jaunty first single, Teenage? “Fanclub”, by any chance?
There are other high points: My Heart Beats is an enjoyably maudlin gem, with a more ambitious layering of vocals and rhythms, and a pleasing guitar solo. But the rest of what's here is consciously quite elemental.
It's endearing, no doubt, but will this material lend itself to the canon? Or is it just a bit of immediate fun? Who knows? Scornful critics speculated that most Britpop was disposable in the first place – yet here we are, still musing about it all almost 20 years later.
What matters most for this London-based quartet is writing songs with elephantine sing-along hooks. That's what they managed with their eponymous 2011 debut, and sure enough that's what they've also achieved with this likeable, if light, follow-up.
They're clearly not in it for the gelt, yet Veronica Falls have emerged with an album that has mass appeal. And despite crafting music which sits squarely in that unflattering space marked 'indie', they’ve presented themselves as doyens of the style press at the same time.