Arts blog: ‘Musicians are jangling away like it’s 1986’

Veronica Falls: practitioners of top-drawer melodic indie pop
Veronica Falls: practitioners of top-drawer melodic indie pop
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INDIE pop may be viewed as the shy, skinny kid with glasses lurking in the corner of the musical playground but it is also the genre that won’t be bullied into submission.

Since its first flourishing in the mid-1980s – documented so influentially on the NME’s cassette compilation C86 that it spawned a genre of the same name – there has always been some corner of the music scene that is forever indie, and rarely more so than right now, with musicians around the country, many of whom would not have been born during The Pastels’ purple period, jangling away happily like it’s 1986.

These include Lancaster husband-and-wife team The Lovely Eggs with their humorous lo-fi ditties, The History of Apple Pie, who are not (quite) as twee as their name might suggest, the perky This Many Boyfriends from Leeds, whose current single is called Tina Weymouth, and London’s Allo Darlin’ who went one better with their single Darren (about listening to the music of cult indie torchbearer Darren Hayman).

London-based four-piece Veronica Falls are among the finest practitioners of top-drawer melodic indie pop, as borne out by their second album Waiting For Something To Happen. Nevertheless, the band is reluctant to own the genre, even though singer Roxanne Clifford was brought up on her older sister’s indie record collection.

“It’s definitely within our consciousness and we definitely know about it,” says Clifford, formerly of cult Glasgow band The Royal We, “but I think in terms of influences for the band it wasn’t something that we wanted to sound like. Sometimes it’s referred to as a bit of a throwaway genre, a little bit too cutesy for us. We’ve got darker, more punk influences in a way.”

Actually, the original C86 covermount contained very little music which could be considered twee. Angular agitators such as Big Flame, Bogshed and Age of Chance and the politicised passion of McCarthy and The Wolfhounds were as much in evidence as the Byrds-loving Primal Scream but, as tends to happen over time, the scene was reduced to an image of introverted fops jangling ineffectually behind fringes.

So if Clifford is keen to distance her band from this skewed perception, who would she claim as an influence? “Probably the bands that influenced those bands!

“When we first started playing together, we talked about the Velvet Underground, Beat Happening, girl group harmonies and lots of 1960s garage, primal and immediate stuff like that…”

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