Sound — 9
The second album is usually regarded as a Band's hardest to pull off, yet the NZ/UK band The Veils manage to do so well, possibly in part due to the almost completely different lineup from the one which made their first album. The sound possessed by Finn Andrews and Co. alone is almost as impressive as the way in which it has been harnessed and molded into the work of indie-alternative Nux Vomica. The first track ('Not Yet') begins with a single piano note and fills the air with suspense until the guitar comes in, before one bar of the album is even over you are desperately wanting more all whilst wondering what is to come. 'Calliope!' follows with a moorish introduction and a relatively catchy chorus, this is possibly the most "mainstream radio" appropriate track on the album. The whole thing lightens up with 'Advice For Young Mothers To Be', but don't let this fool you into thinking this is an entirely upbeat album (in case you didn't catch that from the opening track) and the oozing blues in 'Jesus For the Jugular' only confirms it. Throughout most tracks the suspense building apparent in 'Not Yet' continues, and one can easily find themselves hooked into the album. For a band labeled (as they are by myself above) as indie/alternative, it can be hard to pinpoint their sound. The Veils successfully pull together many different influences to make a well rounded record.
Lyrics — 9
A guy I used to work with had a screen saver which said that "If a picture paints a thousand words, music paints a thousand pictures". Nothing could prove this statement as true as Nux Vomica (both the album itself and the title track). The metaphors and images Andrews portrays through his lyrics are not just poetic but also poignant: "There's an old child's swing-set on the lawn/And an ivied wall lured by the years/A neckerchiefed spaniel patrols the swamp/And drinks from the garden of our tears" (The House Where We All Live). The music matches all of the lyrics perfectly, and although it seems such a natural thing with a band such as The Veils one wonders if putting the music and lyrics together in such a way as they have was really that easy. Finn Andrews' voice completes the package and although at times in certain tracks he sounds like a rather grumpy escapee from a mental institution, this is in keeping for the song and anything else would ruin the aural art they are attempting to create.
Overall Impression — 9
One comparison a friend of mine made was that Nux Vomica sounded like "the dirty cousins of the Arcade Fire without as many accordions." If one had to make a comparison, this would be quite a good one. If you are into alternative/folk/indie you should give these guys a listen (but note, by 'indie' do not pick up a copy expecting someone like the Arctic Monkeys). By far 'Calliope!' is the standout track for me, but that isn't to say that the others aren't all good. This is definitely not a summer album, and as the cover suggests, would be best listened to in the environment of a dark, underground cafe at night, or whilst having a smoke and swirling your favourite whisky at home on a winter's night. One way or another, definitely worth a listen.