August 25, 2016 The Veils – Total Depravity (Album Review)
Many look back on creative impulses during their teenage years and wonder what they were thinking, but at the age of just fourteen, little did Singer-Songwriter Finn Andrews know that he had begun writing what would become material for The Veils’ 2004 debut album, The Runaway Found. Known for an ever-changing sound, The Veils have blossomed over the years with 2006’s Nux Vomica, featuring Pop styling and seeing the band heading in a darker direction. Inspired by new ideas, 2009’s Sun Gangs moved towards more Alternative influences, while 2013’s Time Stays, We Go played around with big arrangements. So, what could one say about the London, England based band? They cannot be boxed in, and that is a beautiful thing.
Led by Andrews, Liam Gerrard (keyboards), Sophia Burn (bass), Dan Raishbrook (guitar), and Henning Dietz (drums) make up this tangent which become ever more endearing with each passing release. While the specific band sound still ever-changing, The Veils has successfully experimented with it, and in doing so again, they are set to release their fifth album, entitled Total Depravity, on August 26, 2016. Curious listeners now prepare for another taste of the evolving monster that is the band.
Opening the record with a classic Horror style sound effect, “Axolotl” shifts with vocals luring the listener in with a slightly mad style. A sensation of falling down the rabbit hole, it is a promising opening before moving along into “A Bit on the Side” with haunting harps and mysterious drums. Breathless vocals add a haze before a Surf guitar comes in, and slowly the beat picks up for only a moment. Thereafter, “Low Lays the Devil” dances a little with a church-like piano and slightly muffled vocals before sharp drums create understated tension while light effects add dream-like atmosphere. Utilizing sound effects once more, “King of Chrome” combines an 80’s Sci-Fi sound while echoing vocals draw the focus to the storyline before a lonely guitar finally comes in to create an image of loss of mental control.
Changing the direction with a melancholy vibe, “Swimming with the Crocodiles” is reminiscent of slow, smooth jams while fragile drums, vocals, and other instruments provide a beautiful backdrop to heavy lyrics. Following, in dramatic fashion, a solo voice introduces “Here Come the Dead” as ominous effects drag around the track and sporadic gritty instruments make it reflect a Horror movie feeling. Up next, “In the Blood” features more effects and calm guitars as clear vocals are delicately framed by high notes on the guitar and the whole tone feels like heartbreak. Providing diversity, “Iodine & Iron” breaks the spell with a hint of Country with a slow, near twangy guitar. Complementing it all, hollow vocals seem to reach right out of the track as if they begging the listener directly for the assurance needed.
Continuing to be ever-captivating, “House of Spirits” is dressed with additional evocative effects and accusing vocals as frustrations are illustrated well while subtle female vocals add depth to the story. Directly after, “Do Your Bones Glow At Night?” begins ever so quietly at first, but rolling guitars shock the track out of the quiet and the muffled, echoing singing arrives once more. With the vocals making the album extra ambient, back-up vocalists add another facet to “In the Nightfall,” which features a prolonged synth opening, creating imagery of a starry night so clear, the galaxy can be seen and contemplated. At last, finishing up the album, the title-track “Total Depravity” emerges with short drum bursts helping build a dark, heavy, and strange emotion as voices seemingly alternate between accusations and regret.
Overall, Total Depravity is a stirring album with macabre elements all over each track. Unearthly sound effects, impressive songwriting, and aforementioned elegant vocals lead the listener down new paths making the album feel smoky and beautiful. For these vivid reasons, CrypticRock gives Total Depravity 5 out of 5 stars.