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The Veils

Total Depravity


Aug 25, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Total Depravity, the fifth album by English indie rock quintet The Veils, is brilliantly haunting and ruefully grim. Fans of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and latter day Tom Waits will find much to love on this album, as the band’s chilly instrumentation and frontman Finn Andrews’ theatrical vocals evoke the Gothic tinge of the former, while the singer’s lyricism hews close to the devilish weirdness of the latter.

Midway track “King of Chrome,” encapsulates all this and more. It opens with faint oscillating synth notes (courtesy of alt hip-hop star El-P, an odd but effective recruit to help produce the album), an ever increasing volume of barely audible percussion, and Andrews’ declarative speak-singing about a speed demon protagonist careening down the highway as if straight out of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. The suspense of that slow burn beginning will not only raise your neck hairs but render them stiffer than steel wool, and when the climactic instrumentation kicks inincluding rattling drums and Andrews’ screaming about the driver’s midnight lonely roadway dreamsit’s as explosive as the plot twist of any thriller.

However, some of those elements will put off a certain, cynical contingent. When Andrews sings “He drinks elixir from a plastic cup” on “King of Chrome,” or theatrically declares “Your love’s been stripping me down like turpentine” on the downbeat “Iodine & Iron,” the proceedings will be deemed a bit too haughty and pretentious by half for some naysayers. But more open-minded listeners will love the conviction of Andrews’ vocals and the vivid imagery of his lyrics. And thankfully, indie rock fans of all temperaments will gleefully groove to “Low Lays the Devil,” which features thwacking drums, smoky vocals from Andrews, and swaying key melodies that incorporate soul, blues, and even a little vaudeville. And even if the more ambitious tracks come off as grandiose to some, no one will be able to deny The Veils’ fearsome commitment to the material. (

Author rating: 8/10

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