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Monday, October 17, 2011

"Veronica Falls", a debut fated to indie-pop heavens

Veronica Falls

Loved their firsts songs, adored "Bad Feeling" and "Come On Over", and enjoyed their performance at FIB Festival this summer. Anticipation for their album was huge. Now "Veronica Falls" is here and (for once) all expectations have been fulfilled.

The record is almost flawless, but what's more important, it is ridiculously addictive, vital and, despite all its dark imaginery (these lyrics), joyful. Twee, jangle-pop, C-86 revivalism, sixties devoted sound... I'll leave the comparisons to you and the critics. I don't want to ruin my listening with the "influences game", because I believe "Veronica Falls" is an album to enjoy and embrace unabashedly.

I had the fear a LP could be the sad demonstration the British were another singles band. And although 1/4 of the record was already heard (the two songs mentioned in the first paragraph plus oldies "Found Love in a Graveyard" and "Beachy Head"), that shadow disappears very quickly. "Veronica Falls" works as a cohesive and uplifting whole.

"Found Love in a Graveyard", amplified, with a more intrincated guitar work and resounding drums, and "Right Side of My Brain", with its incredible chorus and foot-stomping riffs, are unbeatable openers. Immediacy and catchiness, mixed with a somber twist. What's not to love? You will find yourself asking for more. And it comes instantly, in the form of an obscure, Gothic horror film that turns, in a slow-burning crescendo, into a gorgeous indie-pop burst. That's "The Fountain". What a powerful starting trio.

And without allowing you a single second to catch your breath, "Misery" appears, a pop gem where the dialogue/dueling between the boy/girl harmonies reaches heaven, that is topped by a couple of equally wonderful and rewarding tunes: the disarming and upbeat melody of "Bad Feeling" and The Pixies go straightforwardly pop that is the gentle, more paused, "Stephen". You'll be hopelessly in love with the band by now.

The second half of the album opens with another edgier, reverb-drenched one. "Beachy Head" sounds reinvigorated, almost surf-punk mixed with tortured lyrics. It is followed by "All Eyes On You", a poppier affair, that needs a while to knock you out, until the pause previous to the final chorus conquers you. The easy but supercute "The Box", with its irresistible harmonies, ends this round of tunes with a smile.

Because Veronica Falls reserves some of their best for the last trio of songs. "Wedding Day" puzzles you. Rockier and direct. So simple yet so infectious. One word? A classic. Next comes the more atmospheric, laid back (I wouldn't say ballad though) "Veronica Falls", where the band delivers a different pop approach, more suggestive. It works marvellously. And fits so right before "Come On Over", a slow burning number that wakes up into a raucous stampede of drumming and shimmering guitars. As the storm fades gracefully, you can't help but run for another spin of the record. 

What a fantastic debut album. Look for them among the best records of 2011.

SCORE: 8,25/10

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