Misery, it's got a hold of me, misery, my old friend.
As with M83, Veronica Falls make gorgeous music with a Gothic edge. And I mean Gothic in the literal sense. Just as M83 once penned a paean to a "Graveyard Girl," Roxanne Clifford is the kind of gloomy gal who "Found Love in a Graveyard," but there's nothing depressing about her band's enchanting debut.
Other song titles include "Misery" and "Bad Feeling," which possibly inspired a Stereogum user to praise the quartet's "Manson Family murders-meets-Salem Witch Trials feel," making Veronica Falls seem darker than it is, but I found the analogy amusing. That said, they did record part of the album in Yorkshire. To judge by films and TV series like Kes and The Red Riding Trilogy, the northern county just may be the gloomiest place on Earth (see also: the Yorkshire Ripper).
If anything, VF's fast, forceful Wedding Present-like waves of guitar make Siouxsie & the Banshees sound like Gregorian Chants-on-78, but there's a similar sensibility at work. For the true Goth, it all probably plays like Emily the Strange by way of Henry Selick's A Nightmare Before Christmas, but I lean towards the lighter end of the Goth spectrum, so I find no shame in their game.
In the press notes, Slumberland (Girls Names, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, etc.) cites as antecedents songs that inject "a perfectly addictive harmony with something sadder, stranger," such as the Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma," to which I would add the Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey." As favorite acts, drummer Patrick Doyle also mentions Beat Happening, the Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, and Felt. If you like that sort of thing: you might like this, too.
Veronica Falls is out now. They play The Crocodile with Drums on 10/12 (8pm, 21+, $12 adv).