Despite having to compete with ties to an already-famous father and a schlew of fellow London-based, post-punk success stories, the New Zealand natives The Veils have established a reputation for having a great stage presence and an undeniably badass sense of style. Lead singer Finn Andrews has already made two albums with different lineups. With the latest crew, he released his band’s latest record, Sun Gangs on April 7.
All said and done, Sun Gangs is actually my first encounter with The Veils. Aided only by headphones, a glass of white wine, and a cancelled English class, I came to a decisive epiphany on my brand spankin’ new living room floor: I have been missing a crucial Veils element in my life. Have both their previous albums been this fantastic all along? Has Finn Andrews been passing through my local venues without my knowledge? It seems I have some investigation to do over the weekend.
The album opens with “Sit Down By The Fire,” a song with throaty, Brit-rock confidence and nostalgic Smith-esque overtones. It’s an intro with soul, incorporating piano and a maturity that can only be showcased on an artist’s third album. Right off the bat, Andrews’ vocals are sensual and tastefully earnest, incorporating a dazzling honesty and unexpected off-notes that give the album a brilliant, self-realized sense of tension. With a voice that falls somewhere between an Elvis-Presley-growl and the warm tones of Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, Andrews polishes each song’s lyrics with evocative, deliciously taut melodies.
Tracks like “Sun Gangs” and “Begin Again” are mournful and intoxicatingly hymn-like, “The Letter” and “It Hits Deep” might leave you a little hot and bothered, and “Larkspur” could inspire you to stand up and throw a few small, durable objects across the room. The sexiest highlight of the album would have to be “It Hits Deep.” This song is full-bodied and anguished, with a Brit-cowboy swagger to boot. It is the penultimate example of Sun Gang’s core appeal: its promise of danger, its ability to make a normal afternoon into a far sultrier exploit.
My small issue with Sun Gangs is its lack of center. It has its high highs and relative lows, but the ten tracks lack cohesion as a narrative album; it would take some time to learn how each song relates to the next. Yet, despite this hiccup, Sun Gangs is immediately delectable, and especially worth seeking out if you feel your current life is lacking some emotional intensity. It hits deep, I promise.
1. Sit Down By The Fire (3:51)
2. Sun Gangs (3:44)
3. The Letter (3:31
4. Killed By The Boom (2:49)
5. It Hits Deep (5:27)
6. Three Sisters (2:32)
7. The House She Lived In (3:48)
8. Scarecrow (3:31)
9. Larkspur (8:33)
10. Begin Again (3:15)