The weather on the East Coast is now in the ’60s, the leaves are changing and Fall’s official start date is Wednesday. Might I suggest Veronica Falls‘ debut album as the perfect soundtrack to the Autumn? Minor chords are strummed at a fierce jangle, dark romance sung at close harmonies, and production that sounds alive and full of space. The album was mostly recorded live over a three day period by producer Guy Fixen, which gives the songs a real immediacy, and shows off the bands chops. And as I said before, there’s a lot of headroom too — it’s a “you are there” sound that really only works if your band can play.
The band get the C-86 tag a lot but, apart from The Velvet Underground (which has inspired 95% of all indiepop), New Zealand seems to be a bigger influence anyway. “Misery” and current single “Bad Feeling” could both be Bats songs. (The Verlaines are a clear influence too, and I bet someone in the band loves The Chills’ “Pink Frost.”) But this is not a band you really sit around playing “spot the influence” to, as you’re too busy swooning to the gorgeous melodies and Roxanne Clifford’s truly lovely voice.
There’s not a dud in Veronica Falls‘ 36 minute running time. New songs (“Misery,” “Bad Feeling,” the effervescent “The Box”) are equals to early singles “Found Love in a Graveyard” and “Beachy Head” which appear here in newly recorded versions that might actually improve on the original versions. Normally I grumble when bands put all their singles (and b-sides) on their album, but the album has very good flow. It works. (That said I hope to hear some new songs next week when they play NYC.) Lyrically, it’s all old school romance: love and death, often intertwined. Sad, but happily so. This is haunted pop, a brisk October breeze that calls for a nice cardigan.
MP3: Veronica Falls – Misery (buy the album)
If you’re on Spotify, you can listen to the whole thing.
And for a little comparison, here’s a classic from The Bats:
MP3: The Bats – Block of Wood (from Daddy’s Highway, buy the album)
Speaking of the The Bats… they have a new album, Free All the Monsters, coming out October 25 on the newly-rejuvenated Flying Nun label that is celebrating it’s 30th birthday this year. You can stream the title track here:
In addition to the new album, Flying Nun is reissuing some of its classic catalog on vinyl, including The Bats’ Daddy’s Highway which “Block of Wood” is from. They’re also reissuing The 3D‘s 1992 ripper Hellzapoppin’. More titles revealed soon — here’s hoping we’ll get The Chills’ Submarine Bells and The Verlaines’ Bird Dog. And cross your fingers for a Bats U.S. tour, they’re great live.
And speaking of touring — back to Veronica Falls. They’ll be in North America next week. Tour dates are after the jump.