Indie pop. That most derided, dismissed and divisive of genres. Yet, judging by this sold-out gig at the Islington Assembly Hall by London four-piece Veronica Falls, still one capable of inspiring loyalty and devotion among its adherents as well as curiosity within new converts to the cause.
It may have been their eponymous debut album that got them placed in this category but latest offering Waiting For Something To Happen represents a distinct upwards shift in quality, seeing them widen their appeal in the process. Tonight’s show reveals them to be assured performers (aided possibly by the extensive North American tour they’ve just completed), although they’re still quite reserved on stage, preferring to let their music do the talking.
They begin with Tell Me, which quietly boasts a mastery of melody and harmony that helps it break through the restrictive boundaries of the genre they’re most commonly associated with. Tonight, as they find their feet it sounds lighter and more svelte than on record. The Vaselines-esque, bounding guitar blast of My Heart Beats is promoted from its central position on the album to the beginning of the set. The celebration of outsiderdom that is Broken Toy and the Camera Obscura-recalling title track from the second album extend the youthful, zestful feel that runs through the early part of the show.
They do revert to their debut album, possibly on more occasions than expected. Whilst on record it’s made to seem slightly primitive and underdeveloped compared to its successor, tonight these early songs shine through with renewed power and impact, with the heady, carefree abandonment of Found Love In A Graveyard and marauding darkness of Beachy Head sounding particularly impressive. Whilst their latest album contains moments of reflection and sanguine self-awareness (most notably on Shooting Star and Everybody’s Changing) their live show omits these, placing more importance on maintaining a consistent pace.
The saccharine rush of Teenage and gleaming, young pop of If You Still Want Me and Buried Alive appear towards the end of the main set before they close with a trio from their debut; Right Side Of My Brain, Stephen and The Fountain. They may have emerged from a scene that divides opinion but on this form it’s hard to see how such likeable, guitar-pop brilliance could be met with any sort of resistance.