Round about this time last year Veronica Falls released a debut of unashamedly retro indie pop. There wasn’t a sample, studio trick or autotune in sight – in fact the last 25 years may as well have never happened as the band plowed through a series of jangling 80s vibes, bitter sweet harmonies, songs for comfy cardigans, and weird death obsessions. Unlike, say, Tame Impala, there has been no attempt to add a fog of reverb to the nostalgia; Veronica Falls play it straight. Sophomore effort Waiting For Something to Happen is more of the same, but, well, more. There has been zero attempt to push the sound forward, but a whole lot of thought has gone into making every single one of the 13 songs that make up the album a toe tapping, finger snapping, mope along classic. Opener Tell Me rides in on a fine piece of John Squire inspired riffery with vocalists Roxanne and James intertwining their melodies and beseeching the listener to ‘follow me… there’s no need to stay’. The guitars climb and climb before falling back, and the result is near perfect. A few tracks in, Shooting Star slows the pace to a cyclic 2/4 rhythm, reminiscent of Modern Life Is Rubbish era Blur, whilst Roxanne looks for ‘a shooting star… a four leafed clover’ in a typically doomed tale of love.
We can only guess whether Waiting for Something to Happen is meant to refer to their own career – Veronica Falls may be critically feted but they’re yet to have that big breakthrough. In a country obsessed with digging over 90s dance and RnB motifs, the band are the ‘wrong’ kind of retro. As the album continues it sticks to 4 basic elements – a tight rhythm section, lots of guitar picking, lead vocals dancing around with one another, and songs of heartbreak and awkward love. They’ve got their sound and they’re going to keep playing it til the cows come home. It’s clear that they love the songs on this album. In a world of flash in the pan careers, and relentless ‘reboots’, with thankfully little concession to fashion, they’ve stuck to their guns. Hopefully the world will come round to them, rather than the other way round. 8/10