Posts Tagged ‘Roxanne Clifford’


Eight tracks into Patience’s debut synth-pop LP, Dizzy Spells, singer/producer Roxanne Clifford is suddenly joined by a second voice, one that complements her airy choruses and misty-eyed melodies with cloudy French phrases. Fans of Clifford’s former band, Veronica Falls, may recognize the guest’s name if they take a look at the liner notes: Marion Herbain, who was the former Veronica Falls bassist. While the band essentially ceased to exist in 2014—when their social media accounts went silent—the two stayed in touch and are still very close friends.

“She has a great voice,” says Clifford. “I intend to persuade her to sing more songs with me, and hope she’ll join me on tour in the U.K. this June.”

There’s a reason for this. Unlike other projects that start in a home studio and get lost in translation onstage, Patience’s shows aren’t limited to a laptop and a mic stand. They’re an ever-evolving affair, involving a reel-to-reel player, live synths, and clean guitar chords, and often rounded out by guests who can help bring Clifford’s layered harmonies and head-circling hooks to life. Smoke machines, proper lighting, and a decent sound system certainly don’t hurt, either.

“Having a couple friends sing backup with me is wonderful,” says Clifford. “It adds to the energy of the show, sounds great, and I have people to dance with.”

Therein lies the contradiction with Patience. Though it’s her face and hers alone on the album cover, Clifford isn’t looking to hide out solo in a bedroom, surrounded by drum machines, keyboards, and samplers. She misses “the gang mentality of being in a band and the confidence that brings,” as well as the immediacy of being able to just pick up a guitar and play.

“I long for the magical organic excitement that comes from playing in a fully live band,” she admits. “When it comes together, it’s a feeling I can’t really get any other way. But I also don’t feel ready to recruit band members or start hauling a backline around with me just yet.”

As for how she went from writing guitar-centric goth songs with Veronica Falls (“Beachy “Found Love in a Graveyard,” “Beachy Head”) to embracing the dancing-while-crying electronics of Patience, Clifford credits a simple Korg Micro Preset synth from the late ’70s. A key element in some of her favorite songs—including ones by OMD and the cult Belgian act Bernthøler—it provided the foundation for her early solo experiments, along with a Roland TR-505 drum machine. While it took her some time to create a compelling and cohesive vision with such “time-consuming and infuriating” equipment, Clifford found the creative process surrounding her new sonic palette liberating. Doubly so, given the time that passed between Veronica Falls’ last album (2013’s Waiting For Something to Happen) and Patience’s early singles (2016’s “The Church,” “The Pressure,” and 2017’s “White of an Eye”). Pursuing a new sound removed the weight of expectations from the equation. The trickiest part of putting Dizzy Spells together was technical obstacles—hangups indie rock acts don’t really have to deal with.

“It doesn’t feel hugely rewarding for me to get wrapped up in the nuances of an oscillator,” says Clifford. “Or to figure out how to program a sequencer properly; I’m too impatient. I usually have a very clear [idea] of how I want something to sound, yet getting to that point can be a different story.

She continues, “I’m learning more as I go, and it’s been important to have people help me with that side of things where possible. I’m also trying to embrace a more experimental approach to songwriting; letting happy accidents lead me somewhere new has felt freeing…. One element alone can be the tiny piece to make everything fit together in a pleasing way.”

And that’s what Dizzy Spells is: an avant-pop and Italo disco-inspired puzzle that fits together perfectly, despite being developed over several years and countless recording sessions. Clifford also worked with such welcome collaborators as U.K. garage icon Todd Edwards (see also: several Daft Punk singles), Free Love co-founder Lewis Cook, and engineer Misha Hering (Virginia Wing), although the end result is distinctly hers


“I chose the title Dizzy Spells because it suggests these disparate events acting as a whole,” she explains, “telling the story so far and mapping the ebbs and flows. There’s something special about that in and of itself, but I wanted the listening experience to feel immersive, the way an album should.”

Patience’s next round of material is poised to further their narrative, taking her “Gemini tendencies” to new heights without having to wait for the approval of other parties—especially since she now has her own label called Winona Records. Impromptu collabs may emerge on the imprint in the near future, but a Veronica Falls reunion is off the table after the passing of drummer Patrick Doyle last year. Forming another group with Herbain and former Veronica Falls guitarist James Hoare isn’t likely either, despite the creative spark they all share.

Patrick’s death hit us all very hard,” says Clifford. “It’s something that I am still coming to terms with. It’s impossible not to have a spiral of regrets in moments like this. But we’ve all tried to focus on the brilliant times we had together and how cherished they feel in retrospect…. Sharing the memory of someone helps to come to terms with the immense loss that you feel.”

Dizzy Spells will be available in the U.S.A. from Winona Records,

Patience – aka songwriter Roxanne Clifford may have begun as a solo refuge from the Manchester-born, LA-Resident’s band duties but White Of An Eye, her 3rd single, is a fully formed, dancing-with-a tear-in-your-eye, confident Pop Moment. The attempt at shedding memories to embrace the present, an ode to the moment. Like her previous two singles The Church and The Pressure, Lewis Cook of Happy Meals engineers Clifford’s vision to Jacno-esque synth pop perfection. Blooming with a tentative synth cadence and nonchalant spoken word introduction, White Of An Eye soon erupts into perfect disco melancholy, with Clifford’s imagery perfectly nailing that nagging regret that haunts every new adventure. With the first appearance of a guitar hook in a Patience song, it’s a classic pop moment enunciated perfectly by Clifford’s instantly recognizable vocal.

“Melted skies, horizon lines are floating overhead” Blue Sparks Is a nocturne peppered with impressionistic imagery, romantic and doomed. Minimalist and affecting, here Patience is simply two synth lines and Clifford’s vocal. It’s Patience’s version of a Berntholer-style sadness, even evoking a Yazoo ballad. Like a Johnny Jewel production injected with passion, Patience captures the spark between two human hearts, the elusive, indefinable chemistry of sleepless, endless nights.


The third single from Roxanne Clifford’s Patience sees her moving further into New Order territory in her post Veronica Falls songwriting. If John Hughes were still making high school dramas this song would surely be playing as the protagonists walked into the gymnasium for prom.

With the bittersweet stream of melancholy trickling through the half speed drum machine, Patience – aka Roxanne Clifford’s – plaintive appraisal of life’s turmoil, a period spent changing, aches across the ages. With The Pressure, Clifford’s songwriting continues to soar into new territories and textures, here providing irresistible Italo-disco hooks with a classic cry/dance backbone. The Pressure takes Patience’s crystalline synth-pop further into the dry-iced corners of a club in 1983.. though here Clifford has managed to marry a cold production, aided as before by Happy Meals’ Lewis Cook’s engineering, with the inherent sweetness in her vocal. The Pressure never relents, with pulsating waves of harmony and crisp snare cracks building like the greatest early Mute Records 7” they never released, an ode to relationships and the craziness they inflict on us.

Patience, aka Roxanne Clifford of Veronica Falls fame, released her debut single, The Church, earlier this year, and it not only almost instantly sold out, it also received near unanimous acclaim and an unstoppable wave of hype. That it was very good helped of course, as is her second single, The Pressure, which she shared earlier this week.

The Pressure takes the listener back to the hey-day of synth-pop, pitched somewhere between the electronica of The Human League and the indie-pop of The Pastels. In the best way possible The Pressure sounds a bit like a soundtrack to a 1980’s documentary about the future, all icy electronic production and sweet, multi-layered vocals; its triumphantly walks the line of harmony and other worldliness. Patience remains a virtue as we await details of a full length release, but by the time it does come round to being released, the wave of hype might just be deservedly unstoppable.

The Pressure is out September 30th via Night School Records.

Patience is an alias of Roxanne Clifford, a songwriter of repute most recently fronting Veronica Falls. With Patience, Clifford has broken the band-shackles, jettisoned other voices and mainlines a sweetened melodic nous recognisable from her other work, though this time over an impeccable synth pop production. These recordings were waxed with the assistance of Lewis Cook of Glasgow band Happy Meals at Full Ashram Celestial Gardens, Glasgow and Sam Pillay of Virginia Wing at VW House, with Don Pyle on mixing duties.

Clifford’s voice cuts straight to the heart, a tale of late nights, the dance of guilt and ecstasy. Lyrically, we’re rooted at the spot where the church once stood but the Patient heart waits elsewhere, in the dry mists of dreams. B-side My Own Invention is nominally a ballad, a minimal composition that with the sampled vocal harmonies references Laurie Anderson but with a heart-warming melodic line. It’s a simple, nursery-rhyme mini-drama that is effortlessly breezy and a wonderfully sweet partner to dancing with tears in your eyes A-side.

Roxanne Clifford once fronted dingy twee outfit Veronica Falls. If the emergence of her solo project means VF is well and truly over, we’d be rightfully bummed — but who can feel sad when Patience can make it all feel so good? “The Church” wraps Clifford’s glassy vocals and outsize drum hits in a warm blanket of retro synths. The result is precious, disillusioned melancholy, kissing cousins to Frankie Cosmos’ heartfelt bedroom pop or Casket Girls’ sleepy fatalism.