A second album called Waiting For Something To Happen might be asking for trouble. Thankfully, second-album syndrome has bypassed the London four-piece Veronica Falls. On the latest collection, the band delivers a seamless selection of 13 brisk tunes that are instantly hummable. The earlier gothic shackles and preoccupations with death have given way to a gentler exploration of life, as teens give way to twenties. So, despite the literal connection with death, the exhortation to “Bury me alive… I wanna get sick / I wanna catch everything you’ve ever caught” in “Buried Alive” is all to do with moving on.
If the lyrical content shows development, so too has the music grown equally more refined. Guitar, bass, and drums blend agreeably to convey a super-tight, economical sound. Vocalist Roxanne Clifford coos in a sweet, matter-of-fact way while the boys in the band frequently rephrase Clifford’s lead lines harmonically to emphasize their points. If there’s a weakness, it feels too controlled — like you actually are waiting for something dynamic to happen within the songs. That kind of injection is something that the similarly-armed Magic Numbers have mastered and points at somewhere Veronica Falls could go next.
That said, there is plenty to admire about the record. From the chiming chords of first cut “Tell Me” to the civilized break-up story of the album closer, “Last Conversation”, it plays out like a soundtrack to a rite-of-passage road movie set across a wide, open plain. Along the way the band delivers a succession of sparkling melodies in wistful yet grounded indie-pop songs that are satisfying enough for you not to want to change stations along the route.
Essential tracks: “Tell Me”, “Waiting For Something to Happen”, and “Buried Alive”.