In the seven years since The Veronicas last released an album, sisters Jessica and Lisa Origliasso have been on a fateful expedition of creativity and maturity, which has fuelled their metamorphosis into grown women with strong opinions and a distinctive direction. Their absence from the spotlight has afforded them the time and perspective to step away from the pop-pack mentality, and write and create wildly evocative new music. The long-awaited end-result is their third album simply, and aptly, self-titled, The Veronicas.
The shackles of pop-convention have been tossed aside and The Veronicas have weaved together an intelligent, textured, and emotive collection of songs that elegantly display a new sophistication and confidence. Boasting unyielding melodic hooks and choruses, the album is equally underpinned by a seductive inky slither. The Veronicas is the perfect album to soundtrack the escapades of the Twilight generation, whilst at the same time equally impressing the likes of the Songwriters Guild establishment.
Following the release of their “Hook Me Up” album in 2007, The Veronicas toured extensively around Australia, North America, Europe and Asia, building on their growing fan-base. In 2010, the duo took a break for six months before re-entering the studio to begin work on their third album in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and Sweden. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, industry politics meant that The Veronicas were side-lined, and unable to move forward with their new music.
“During the process we had the intention of creating an album a lot earlier,” explains Jessica. “Unfortunately due to the structural set-up of our last record company we weren’t able to release it. The industry can be an extremely frustrating situation to find yourself involved in, and so there wasn’t much we could do in the meantime except to continue focussing on creating new music.
“We’ve always been women who believe in ourselves, and we weren’t going to let the music business stifle our love of creating music. We decided to just seek out different producers, songwriters and artists who would help us expand our craft in that collaborative way. Hence why we worked with a lot of people who aren’t your typical pop associates.”
Earlier this year, The Veronicas’ patience paid off, as the sisters signed a new worldwide record deal Sony Music, and began finishing off their brand new album, The Veronicas. The first taster from the set, was the brave, and earnestly-beautiful “You Ruin Me” ballad, which debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, holding the position for three consecutive weeks and achieving Double Platinum sales.
“It was completely overwhelming and so exciting in every way,” says Lisa of the instantaneous welcome for The Veronicas’ return. “We’ve done ballads in the past, as our fans know, but generally I think many people probably think of The Veronica’s as a pop/rock act with spunk and attitude. I think it was time to show off the other side of who are; we just wanted to put forward our hearts and souls, and show people how we’ve evolved and grown.”
The Veronicas’ strength and appeal lies in the fact that despite the darker, brooding, wrought undercurrent of their music, their affinity with strong melodies and pop sensibilities allows listeners in, and to relate to their emotions. The Veronicas are intelligent enough writers and musicians to realise that the celebration of pop doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from the darker elements of our human psyche. Themes of love, hurt, rage, break-ups and desire intoxicatingly swirl together on The Veronicas, and the result is a dramatic collision of intrigue and musical-character.
“To me, in music there’s absolutely no rules,” Lisa says categorically. “We’ve never felt we needed to be anything other than who we are. Technically it doesn’t matter if you can do all the vocal gymnastics, it’s about connecting with that really real place within you and telling the story you need to tell. We’re not going to pretend we’re the pop princesses or the emo chicks – we’re a bit of everything, it depends on the day, and it depends on our moods. We tend to draw from our life experiences, and when we feel, we feel very deeply, and very intensely. We’re complicated women!”
Assisting The Veronicas’ growth and direction on their third album are a hugely impressive collaborative cast of producers and writers, whose influence has been felt by the sisters over the years. Contributors to the album include Nellee Hooper (Massive Attack, Bjork), Toby Gad (John Legend, Beyonce), Billy Corgan (The
Smashing Pumpkins), Martin Hansen (The Rasmus), Chris Loco (Kylie Minogue, Leona Lewis), singer/songwriter Emeli Sande, and Australian team DNA Songs (producers of “You Ruin Me”, and the next single “If You Love Someone”). At the very core of The Veronicas however, is the sister-duo whose musical souls are uniquely intertwined.
“All of these people really challenged us as artists, and we focussed on that kind of creative growth, which also kept us as un-jaded as possible about the business,” says Jessica. “Eventually we knew we would get to release the record of our dreams, and we just never gave up. We valued our ourselves through the process, and we become more independent in all aspects of our lives. Nothing that was thrown at us on a business level could penetrate our belief in ourselves.”
“It feels like a definite rebirth,” adds Lisa. “We got time to grow up, time to experience life, and time to evolve our creative directions. We’ve loved as women, and we’ve had to fight as businesswomen – all of that has happened, and scarred us for better or worse. It’s all been part of the part of the process for this album. Through it all music kept us sane, and so this album charts the sanity and the insanity of the last few years.”
If audiences, impressed by the maturity of “You Ruin Me” expect an album of doom and gloom, they are set to be thrown off track with the second single from the album, “If You Love Someone”. The single is an unashamed melodic celebration of love and pop that collide in a shimmering explosion. It’s an outright pop bonanza which starkly contrasts any preconception The Veronicas are moody or petulant art rebels.
“It’s really beautiful for us to listen to the darker songs – because we remember exactly where we were at emotionally – and then progress into the more joyous songs. That’s what makes a song like “If You Love Someone” so powerful and important on this collection, because we went through this whole evolution of challenges, and rebirthing as young women, and as we got to the end of making this record, that song just came along. It could have only come along and be written because it came from such a genuine place, following everything we went through. Despite the darker moments represented, the fact is we made it through all of that, and made it to where we are now, and a song like “If You Love Someone” is a sonic capture of where we ended up. Love conquers all, and we made it through to that point. We think it’s the most important song on the album.”
Whilst other artists are scientifically-calculating formulas for hit singles, The Veronicas, by way of losing themselves in the creative heart of song-writing without deadline, have found their way to making an album full of hit singles. In doing so they have proved that the art of making an album is truly alive. It’s an album that gets repeat spins; a ready-made playlist of back to back hits that’ll have you singing along at the top of your voice, like you would to any of the greatest hits by the likes of Pink, Gwen Stefani or Garbage. It’s angsty, it’s fearless, it’s melodic, and it’s truthful.
The album is punctuated throughout by magnificent pop progressions and dramatic builds, whilst the clarity of their vocals pierces the point that the twin Origliasso sisters have got something that they want to say. It’s this intensity and this attitude that makes this album so indispensable. More often than not The Veronicas draw you in with a laidback, cool, seduction, before kicking you in the teeth with a searing pop chorus that feels like it’s made of shattered glass.
“We want people to use our music to soundtrack whatever they’re going through,” explains Lisa. “Music for us growing-up was exactly that – when we felt we were misunderstood, or when we weren’t able to express or process our emotions for whatever we were going through, we would put songs on repeat and listen to them obsessively until we had worked out how we were feeling.”
Starting out with the swampy, bluesy seduction of intrigue and dark desire on opener “Sanctified”, and the diverging spit ‘n hug of “Did You Miss Me (I’m A Veronica)”, The Veronicas sneers defiantly before revealing pop-heart in the shape of songs like “Cruel” and “Teenage Millionaire”, whilst emotional depths and complexities arise on “Line Of Fire”, “Born Bob Dylan”, and “Let Me Out” with equal passion and intensity. The Veronicas is an album of all killer, no filler, down to the very last song “You And Me” – a folky ode to their own bond as sisters, sung in unison.
“We have been been through so much together, and so it was beautiful to reflect in how far we’ve come,” reflects Jessica. “At the end of the day we are really, really lucky to have each other. We always thought that no matter what happens, we’ve always got each other.”
“I love ending on that song because it sums up the album and who we are perfectly,” Lisa says. “It’s just the two of us with an acoustic guitar, bonded together. It leaves the listener with the heart and soul of The Veronicas.”
Make no mistake, The Veronicas are back. Reborn, reinvigorated, and ready to reveal their tender, fragile seduction… before they switch it up, look you square in the eyes, and knock you out!