When an artist so deftly nails a genre, its sometimes beguiling that they’d ever leave it behind in their wake. Veronica Falls was one of the most instantly brilliant jangle-pop bands of the last decade. They merged wistful, tip-of-the-tongue influences into a seamless pop vision that was quietly catchy, incredibly intimate, and bittersweet to the point that songs could make your heart ache for days. As the band faded away to their separate pop corners leaving behind an enviable, albeit brief catalog in their stead, neither half has pursued quite the same niche they once found so comfortable. As her bandmate James Hoare has wandered more autumnal with his works, Roxanne Clifford has found space on the dancefloor of sorts. After several singles under the name, her debut as Patience applies the same artisan’s ear and bittersweet heart to synthpop that she once saved for the jangle.
There are still a few flecks of guitar that grace Dizzy Spells (“White of an Eye”) but they’re garnishes at best. Clifford instead focuses on a stripped-down analog sound that’s delightfully minimal, though never unpolished. She’s channeling the early years of dance-pop, the kind that found itself creeping out of the corners of disco, but also found itself in thrall of German electronic pioneers and bedroom pop singers alike. She crafts the kind of detached, yet hypnotic hits that made Grace Jones and New Order kindred spirits with slinky underground acts like Monopol and Autumn. The opener “The Girls Are Chewing Gum” could easily find itself bound up with the kind of sharp, kinked club hits that wind up on Minimal Wave compilations.
The bulk of the record swings a different direction, though. The songs, for the most part, aren’t built for dancing in public, but rather caressing a wounded soul and broken heart away from prying eyes. The sort of intimacy that permeated her work with the Falls is still readily apparent here, and Clifford is able to apply a dreamy veneer to the skeletal beats and gauzy auras she’s constructed. The shift is admirable for its desire to steer quite wide of her comfort zone, but more so because she pulls it off jus as naturally as she has any other vision of her songwriting prowess. Whether this remains a temporary direction or a new standard for Clifford, she’s proving that no matter what genre she’s exploring, she brings a deft pop palette and that perfect pang of heartache that makes the songs stick.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.