Review Summary: Finn Andrews and his new cast explore louder and more infectious territory, thus yielding a fantastic record
For every one of those horribly pedestrian and mediocre groups that seem to receive hordes of unwarranted acclaim, there are several innovative and tight bands that never achieve this for one reason or another. Unfortunately, the Veils are one of those bands that are still getting no recognition, despite their knack for manufacturing fantastic music year after year. The New Zealand natives had already proven this with The Runaway Found
in 2004; a cohesive and poignant collection of songs which was stunning in nearly every facet. The Veils’ sound was largely propelled by ringleader Finn Andrews, whose vivid lyricism and distinct croon radiates from every of the band’s tracks. The Runaway Found
was varied in that it was infectious and gorgeous at any given point, at times relying on a wide range of instrumentation to create an austere ambience. Despite all of this, the entire band left Andrews following the record’s release, causing a revamping of personnel prior to the release of Nux Vomica
. The rectification of the Veils presented Andrews with opportunity to take something staggering and completely re-shape it. And you better believe it happened.
While The Runaway Found
was quick to take the enchanting route with songs such as “Lavinia,” “The Valleys of New Orleans,” and “The Nowhere Man,” Nux Vomica
is louder, more contagious, and overall vastly superior to its predecessor. Very similar to the debut in its balance between the lower key and catchy pieces, Nux Vomica
works in cohesion between tracks with massive pop-appeal and ones subject to sheer intensity. Andrews had certainly grown as a vocalist to this point, for his vocal outbursts are as significant a characteristic as anything on the record. The raw poignancy of tracks “Jesus for the Jugular” “Not Yet,” and the title track are only furthered by these instances, demonstrating an even greater zeal than was found on the debut. The former is a demonstration of the Veils at the pinnacle of their innovation; a bluesy number that mixes and matches with some blistering guitar riffs and Andrews’ volatile performance. As fantastic as the Veils are when they flex their muscles, a comparable statement could very well be made about their capabilities on sweet, delightful pop tunes. The tandem of “Calliope” and “Advice for Young Mothers to Be” work wonders at Nux Vomica
’s front end; both riding blissful keyboard segments and optimistic harmonies to carry out their idyllic memorandum. Female vocalists even make an appearance on the latter of the two, providing the dulcet atmosphere that melds so brilliantly with Andrews’ intensely focused act.
With these candors in place however, the Veils do not fail to recall their debut on at least of few of the record’s moments, notably “Under the Folding Branches” and ready-made single “One Night on Earth.” The former is a heart-wrenching ballad that evokes The Runaway Found
’s closer “The Nowhere Man” in its utilization of strings and affecting lyricism. “Under the Folding Branches” is actually instrumental in revealing Andrews’ unique songwriting aptitude; centering around a beautiful and optimistic metaphor. “Go spin me around, under the folding branches. Now it’s not too late, heaven can wait another year or so.”
This is a facet that glistens on the entire record, ultimately coming to a summit on the definitive “House Where We All Live.” Nux Vomica
’s finale is eloquently powerful in that it almost doesn’t belong on the album; it’s a far cry from the vicious Jesus for the Jugular” or the 60’s throwback “Calliope.” This stripped down ballad is the reflection period at the tail end of Nux Vomica
, only elevated by Andrews’ soulful mutterings of “Just look for the house where we all live.”
The Veils’ shift from somewhat of a radio-friendly approach on The Runaway Found
has brought a whole world of opportunity for this undermined group, provided that they continue to channel their resources into deep, compelling music. Nux Vomica
is kingpin Finn Andrews at his very finest; capable of being felt on every one of his wails and resonances, but also making it known that he is in utter control. The original crew did not leave for nothing, and Andrews has made it perfectly clear that well, he doesn’t care. Just listen to Nux Vomica
and tell him he’s wrong.