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April 27, 2009 | by  | in Music |
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The Veils – Sun Gangs (Rough Trade)

Finn Andrews, WTF? After releasing mega Nick Cave angst demons all over sophomore effort Nux Vomica, the skinny hatted one crept out of public view, save for a one-off display of violence against a Flight Centre window (dude just hates planes or something). Call it a premature press announcement or whatever, but it certainly put attention back on the guy. Then comes Sun Gangs, the third release under his Veils moniker. The press release information read like a train wreck waiting to happen. Bernard Butler?! Umm… biblical references?! Was kinda scared, y’all, I really liked Nux Vomica.

Sun Gangs isn’t really a departure from his previous work, but with a snarl like Andrews’, it’s always going to be hard to break the mould. His piano-bashing angst has mostly subsided, in favour of dimly lit jams. The low points are few and far between—soft piano crywank on the title track fails to recall anything but Nux Vomica b-sides, and his lyrics have often descended into forced rhyming couplets that sound more Simply Red than Shakespeare. That aside, there’s enough genuine feeling and energy going on to make this album a success. Bernard Butler’s sole touch on the album, opener ‘Sit Down By The Fire’, builds through to a warming choral hook that’s at once longing and warming. ‘Killed By The Boom’, when it’s not sounding like Absolution-era Muse (come onnn finn, that’s Evermore shit!), busts out guitar-driven angry yelps that are short, hard, fast and angry—basically packing enough mid-life crisis brutality to smack your divorcee Dad out of buying that Burger Wisconsin chain in 3 minutes. ‘The Letter’ revives the jangled guitar pop of ‘Advice For Young Mothers To Be’, but Andrews’ strained high notes distance it from being straight self-plagiarism. Oh yeah, his voice is fucking sweet on Sun Gangs. The Evil Dead moans all through ‘Larkspur’, the 8-minute beast of an epic. so legit. Pretty sure the lyrics are a haiku as well.

The piano rhythms are, for the most part, mega downbeat and demure, which is probably where I’m calling a lot of the Nux Vomica parallels from too. That changes at the album’s close with ‘Begin Again’, a kind of farcical pop piano melody weaving in with Andrews’ rhyming (not necessary yo) musings. It’s a quaint finish to Sun Gangs, underlining why it’s actually a good album. Less Nick Cave ripping + the whole band sounds like it has input (less Muse please) + a legit balance of snarl and swagger = yay. Now stop kicking in windows and keep getting better. Heaps good eh.

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