Being called twee is kind of like being called a hipster: You never self-identify that way. In interviews, the members of London’s Veronica Falls frequently bristle at being lumped in with the cuddly indie-pop sound, and you can hear why. There may be jangly guitars and delicate boy-girl vocals throughout the band’s excellent debut on Slumberland Records—a label, by the way, that critics frequently connect with American twee—but Veronica Falls otherwise feels pretty sinister. When the topic is romance, singer Roxanne Clifford is falling for a ghost. There’s some pastoral scenery, sure—but then the protagonist jumps off a cliff. Melodies generally stay in minor key, choruses melt into zombie moans, but most songs eventually lock into fast, fist-pumping forward motion. It makes sense that two of Veronica Falls’ players met while watching Comet Gain, another band that can swing being cute, macabre, and cathartic. To borrow words from the latter band to describe the former: “Love to see you standing there/in your beautiful despair.”
Veronica Falls performs with Brilliant Colors at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. blackcatdc.com. (202) 667-7960.