Originally published: here
Echo Lake ease in tonight’s show with the allure of a seedy dive bar, unearthing breathy vocals and seductive waves of guitar-noise from behind floppy fringes and drawing on an aesthetic which is part Creation-era indie band, part Nico-esque ethereality. Frontwoman Linda Jarvis’ tendency to rise onto her tiptoes when the high notes beckon ensures a coy delivery but one nonetheless anchored by a voice which fully pervades the room with its impressive range. And with a debut EP – ‘Young Silence’ – and 7” single – ‘Another Day/Breathe Deep’ – currently out on No Pain in Pop, Echo Lake will arguably be headline fodder before the year is out, taking their Slowdive/Ride entrenched outpourings to new dizzying heights of recognition.
A slew of festival appearances and European dates, a self-titled debut and correspondingly, more press than you can shake a stick at and exquisite boy/girl quartet Veronica Falls must be pretty worn out. But as they take to their perch with a stride in their step – seraphim faces beaming at the prospect of tonight’s imminent performance – any negative effects of a full schedule are soon blanketed by their ensuing display of flawless musicianship and ability to more than fine-tune a melody.
It’s a sold-out show which boasts a comparatively varied demographic – indie-pop cognoscenti coupled with a raft of grey-haired gig-goers – and which promises instant gratification from the off in the form of the band’s ultimate pop-noir triumph, ‘Found Love in a Graveyard’. Sumptuous multi-vocal harmonies abound and the spine-jangling, euphoria-inducing chorus stands as proud confirmation of their enviable knack for a fine hook or two.
Deftly reeling off ‘Stephen’ – an ode to a fictional, near-perfect boyfriend – the icy, elongated ‘Come On Over’, current single ‘Bad Feeling’ and the effervescent froth of hit song ‘Beachy Head’, guitars tripping over the track’s maudlin subject-matter with a sense of pure, unadulterated glee, and any attempts at crowd-pushing my way to a primetime viewing spot are cruelly dashed by the band’s stubborn fanbase, who barely move their heads throughout for want of concentration. But there’s room at the front when new songs ‘Bury Me Alive’ and ‘Last Conversation’ rear their lovely, C86 adorned head and, teetering on the crest of a tantalising build-up – one of Veronica Falls’ signature traits – all the time bolstered by Patrick Doyle’s seemingly effortless and occasionally tambourine-incorporated drumming, both tracks carry with them the weight of future promise.
There’s extra cause for celebration among indie-pop fans tonight, considering Veronica Falls’ unprecedented (150th) position in the UK Albums Chart, a subtle but satisfying feat for the Bella Union signing who manage to veer on the right side of polished and espouse catchy, melodic pop, with their inimitability still intact.