As fey as they are twee
Veronica Falls - Live At Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Veronica Falls know how to get a party started. No, seriously. How many other bands could get a Saturday night crowd dancing with a song that contemplates a plummet to death off the edge of a cliff?

Picture this, the most romantic of scenes if you will. The Leeds indie cognoscenti have packed the floor of the Brudenell Social Club, swaying blissfully, while three songs into their set, from underneath floppy fringes and curly hair, indie-poppers Veronica Falls are thundering out the swoonsome, Cramps-esque chorus of ‘Beachy Head’. “I’m gonna miss you, when you’re gone” coos singer Roxanne Clifford, managing to make ruminations of suicide sound as charmingly inviting as a picnic in a cherry blossom-strewn park.

It’s this juxtaposition of the bitter and sweet that makes Veronica Falls such an alluring proposition both on record and onstage. It’s no mean feat to create a distinctive sound when wearing your influences so brazenly on your sleeves, but they pull it off with aplomb. Close your eyes for one second and you could be listening to Siouxsie And The Banshees, while a brisk jangle of guitar later and they’re as shimmering, wide-eyed and shambolic as obvious idols The Pastels.

As fey as they are twee, the Falls’ appearance, like their sound, is a tale of two halves. Bassist Marion, the cool kid of the gang stares pretty much resolutely downwards, with eyes only for what her fingers are doing. Still, she learned to play in a month and you only wish you could look as good as her. Singers Clifford and James Hoare on the other hand hold fort in front of the microphone, she in a red polka dot blouse, he in paisley, both buttoned up to the throat and both faces alight with smiles.

They don’t say much in the way of banter, drummer Patrick Doyle providing the obligatory “It’s great to be back in Leeds” moments. But they don’t need to. As the band breeze through their macabre take on pop, seductive, dainty hooks weaving through gorgeous harmonies, the crowd are bewitched by the prettiness of it all, regardless of the guilelessly morbid themes that seep relentlessly throughout. They shuffle closer to the stage, heads bopping to ‘Buried Alive’ and ‘Bad Feeling’ while an audible moan of appreciation goes up for the deliciously goth opening riff to ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’ followed by Clifford’s deadpan delivery: “I get on my bike and I ride and ride and I’ll never be found again…”

There are airings of newer songs tonight, rearing their heads only four months after the release of their debut. And while sure, there’s more to Veronica Falls than dewy-eyed ghost stories, sonically the band tends to like to stay inside their familiar, surf-guitar bubble. Certainly the heavy hearted ‘Last Conversation’ and ‘Heart Beat’ suggest they aren’t about to do a volte-face on us just yet. But no matter. The crowd tonight haven’t come to hear one. And by the time the band play their best card - the urgent chime of ‘Come On Over’ we don’t feel like we’d want our Veronica Falls any other way.

Words by Dannii Leivers
Photo by Danny Payne

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