Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen

I can’t understand why more people don’t hear Veronica Falls the way I do – as an old-school British folk-rock band that just happens to coat its classic vocal harmonies in a layer of C86 guitars. Waiting For Something To Happen has the earmarks of a difficult sophomore outing but somehow twists those usual gotchas to the quartet’s advantage, resulting in an album that arguably bests the band’s stunning debut.

Waiting for Something To Happen is less varied than Veronica Falls, largely because the debut was spiced up by several ace pre-LP singles. Something’s vibe is more consistent, and relatively subdued. Roxanne Clifford’s sweet, clear-as-a-bell voice remains Veronica Falls’ number one asset, and it gets plenty of runway here. The band knows its history, too – the plaintive refrain of “Teenage” carries echoes of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” and “If You Still Want Me” simmers at a taut Feelies/Velvets clip. But it’s Clifford’s voice, entwined with those of bandmates James Hoare and Patrick Doyle, that carries the day.

Veronica Falls are clearly a fan of the Big Finish. On the debut it was “Come On Over” and this time it’s “Last Conversation” that builds to the disc’s most rousing head of steam. The latest finale strikes me as a successful execution of extra polish labelmates the Pains of Being Pure at Heart applied to their second album. So – no breakaway single but rock-solid songwriting and nary a clunker in the bunch. Waiting For Something To Happen is the work of a band with enough texture to register on numerous levels.

Veronica Falls
Waiting For Something To Happen
[Slumberland/Bella Union]