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Nux Vomica

The Veils

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Album Review

In 2004, the Veils released their folk-tinged rock debut, Runaway Found, and shortly after all but founder Finn Andrews remained, so it was with a completely new group that Andrews set about recording the band's second album, Nux Vomica. Perhaps it was the new musicians, perhaps it was just Andrews' inevitable maturation, but Nux Vomica represents a huge progression for the Veils. Andrews has certainly grown as a songwriter; his lyrics, while still as affected as before, have gained a certain poeticism that reflects a growing understanding of the world around him, one that looks beyond the personal and into the greater human experience. The great Divine Comedy-esque first single, "Advice for Young Mothers to Be," is sung from the perspective of a young mother herself, while the title track is comprised of a set of verses — and no choruses — that ask God his thoughts on modern-day society. But this isn't a religious or political song, and Andrews isn't particularly overt in his personal feelings. Instead, he opts for the dramatically ambiguous: "What say you Lord/Of the serpent-tailed, forbidden fish of the harbor/And the ready-men, defiant drinkers and charmers/All lost and summoning the face of their fathers/Can you see them now?" he sings, his voice growling as the piano and electric guitar behind him intensify. In fact, it's Andrews' vocals that seem to have made the most significant steps since Runaway Found. He moves from the passionate snarl of "Not Yet" to a Jeff Buckley groove on "House Where We All Live" to a Jack White-howl on the fantastic "Jesus for the Jugular." It's a force of its own, Andrews' voice, and propels the album more than the stylized, orchestral pop of "One Night on Earth" or "A Birthday Present," or the distorted guitar and piano romp of "Pan" does. On Nux Vomica, the Veils demonstrate not only a profound sense of craftsmanship, but also an impressive energy, a passion that can't be conceived inside the studio. The album's a wonderful step forward from an already strong foothold, theatrical without being overdone, introspective without being saccharine, and makes for an excellent piece of work. [The CD was also released with two bonus tracks: "Night Thoughts of a Tired Surgeon," and an enhanced video of "Advice for Young Mothers to Be."]

Biography

Formed: 2001 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

As the son of keyboardist Barry Andrews (XTC, Shriekback), the Veils' Finn Andrews knew nothing else except a world full of music and art. He had plans to become a painter as a young lad; however, a move to his grandmother's abode in Devonport, New Zealand (near Auckland) with his mother pointed Andrews in a different direction during his teenage years. He frequented the local folk scene to escape the ho-hum of country...
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Nux Vomica, The Veils
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