Catching a friend’s notice on Pandora, this “little” band from London pumping from the speakers was directing my head-bob and feet so I thought, “Hell, why not. I'll check my eMusic account”. Sure enough, they had two albums out and one on the way any day so I scooped up the first two in anticipation of their latest release, and I’m now hooked…forever. While waiting for the tracks to download, I skipped down the page to eMusic’s nifty little video section to see if there were any video’s that I could take a peek at just in case I hated it and would have to bow my head in mourning for my lost credits. I clicked on the video for Lavinia and within 30 seconds was checking to see if the track was finished downloading yet because this song was about to change my life forever (as any band that strikes a cord in your heart will).
I Google the band for more intel and discover that Finn Andrews, the front man and only remaining member of the original band was born in England, raised in New Zealand, moved back to London at 17 and formed the first incarnation of The Veils. After The Runaway Found the band split due to differing opinions about the band’s direction and Fin went out to form the next incarnation of The Veils.
Off of their first album The Runaway Found, the heartbreaking ballad Lavinia ruined my ability to listen to the rest of the album for days, as I couldn’t stop listening to that track on repeat. Finally, I gave the rest of the album a fighting chance and was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of sounds on the first album. It feels as though the band is still trying to figure out who they are, but just happen to be good enough for a label right out of the gate. Andrews being the son of the Barry Andrews, who worked with likes of David Bowie and Brian Eno, some might speculate that it helped get the band's foot in the door, but needless to say the talent is there and one would think that Finn deserves the credit independently. The Runaway Found is all over the map, but it works, and it's diversity becomes a signature for the band. A young band fronted by a young man, both experiencing a teen-hood of discovery and drama with the inkling of an old soul finding it’s place in the world. A tremendous Wordsmith, Andrews sculpts stories with apparent ease.
Nux Vomica, their sophomore album made a much clearer statement about the identity of the band and comes racing out of the gate on the first track. Nux Vomica finds the band and Andrews more mature in sound and constitution, vocally, lyrically and instrumentally. There seems to be a signature nod amongst all the albums to pop sensibilities and almost a tongue in cheek homage to 60’s style pop, yet the direction of Nux Vomica has a sense of aged, bitter confidence that has it’s own sound but reminds us of everything from The Pogues, Johnny Cash, and Rufus Wainwright. Gracing some key critics top 10 lists for 2006…many of my fellow Indy nerds and I had still not heard of this band?! WTF?!
Having spread the wealth and passed out copies to all the people that I knew would love them as I do, we waited, and the third album Sun Gangs was delivered with great anticipation and did not disappoint. A sadness, fear, and insecurity permeate lyrically as the Veils continue to push the limits of genre. Reminding me at times of tracks from The Cold War Kids' Loyalty To Loyalty, The Arcade Fire and Coldplay I still never get the sense that I’m listening to a band that doesn’t easily define it’s self outside of the other bands of the genre.
Sun Gangs may not be the album that shoves them into a deserved spotlight only due to the morose tone of the latter quarter of the album where it looses momentum (but not quality or intensity), but I’ll be happy if I’m wrong! Finn Andrews appears to have worked very hard to carefully sculpt three critically successful albums and regardless of the level of fame they achieve, the band and Andrews will easily be remembered by those in the know as one of the most under appreciated efforts of their time.
The Spazz's Fav's:
The Runaway Found:
Lavinia, More Heat Than Light, Talk Down The Girl, Guiding Light
Not Yet, Advice For Young Mothers To Be, Under The Folding Branches, Pan
The House She Lived In, Sit Down By The Fire, The Letter, It Hits Deeper, Sun Gangs