Veronica Falls, ‘Waiting for Something to Happen’ – Album Review
“Tell me everything,” urge Veronica Falls on ‘Teenage,’ the opening track on ‘Waiting for Something to Happen.’ This statement, surely not an accidental way to kick things off, encompasses a strand of vulnerability that unravels throughout the album.
“Teenage,” like virtually every track here, manages to expertly capture longing without succumbing to triteness, something the London foursome has proven masterful at avoiding.
A nostalgic thread runs through much of the album. “Broken Toy” is a deceivingly cheerful track — it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it jaunty, even — but lines like “I’m a broken toy like you” underscore the truth they’re aiming for, furthering their references to the eternal waiting game of life that begins in adolescence. It’s this ongoing urgency that carries the momentum of the album, which is more buoyant than the band’s eponymous 2011 effort.
Indeed, this time around, the songs showcase more energy and vitality without catapulting the band into a new genre entirely. The only listeners likely to be disappointed are those who insisted on classifying Veronica Falls as “goth-pop,” a label that was bandied about during the time of their first release. There’s a certain wistfulness to this album, sure, but there’s no desolation.
For better or for worse, no one is about to mistake a Veronica Falls record for one by Morrissey. It’s clear they’re more than happy to continue to subvert expectations, and the songwriting stays fresh because of — not in spite of — that fact.
Though they clock in at a mere 37 minutes, the 13 songs are concentrated, and that’s a good thing; there’s no wasted space, and each track is calibrated to deliver a deliberate emotional punch. Vocally, Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare are in fine form, too, creating harmonies that the early Beach Boys would have been proud of, but that also wouldn’t have sounded out of place amid the boy-girl harmonies of early-’00s indie outfit Nineteen Forty-Five.
‘Waiting for Something to Happen’ may give a nod to the notion of looking back, but the album’s strength lies in the prevailing sense that Veronica Falls are ready to take on whatever the future holds.