The Veils stay, and we stay
The Veils have yet to disappoint me - either on stage or on record. Last time I saw them live there were problems with the sound, on top of a broken keyboard. It's fair to say they weren't quite at the top of their game... But they easily could have been.
Four years fast forward at London's Scala, the band have come with their new LP (cause we always speak in LPs when we can) Time Stays, We Go (out since April) ready to prove me right.
To start with, their fourth album is a beautiful piece of work. Heartfelt, as we've come to expect, melodic, powerful where it needs be, it is typical Veils - unveiled. Train With No Name serves as a fair warm-up to the show, and it only goes upwards from there. The fervent Through The Deep, Dark Wood pops up later on, along with other 4rth-album excerpts like Birds, Andrews' lyrical confession of ornithophobia, Pearl, Turn From The Rain and Sign Of Your Love, the latter with the kind of catchy chorus that could turn it into a radio hit.
The Abbey Road ep, and one that seemingly could only enhance the band's eclecticism. At a large part, it does, but not in Not Yet, fully overtaking a piano so delicate and integral to the lyrics vulnerability, transforming it into what sounded like a Tex-mex party ala Calexico to my unprepared ears. I see what the musicians saw in the colouring of the instruments, but it was still a bit disappointing. Nux Vomica, the album, that Not Yet song is part of, was a gem and possibly among my all-time favourites - electric, dramatic, poetic, accessibly unorthodox. Lucky for me, the characteristically frustrated title song came hornless, poisonous and magnificent as it's made to be.
Andrews seems to perpetually drown in vulnerability opposite his fans, possessed by a kind of sweet frustration himself, and consumed in sentiment and uncertainty (he tries to think of what to tell people before the end of each song, he says). But he is, at the same time, an authoritative presence - passionate and magnetic, and the people gathered to see him and the band -themselves pretty solid- are, fittingly, good listeners.
When he comes back for a lonely solo on his guitar, he chooses The Tide That Left and Never Came Back -stripped of the sonic fuss of the studio version, the song is just a beauty- and a heart-breaking Lavinia - a hymn to a love past. All sufficiently building anticipation for the last, angry blues farewell: Jesus For The Jugular made for a killer ending, and it was sexy as hell.
The Veils deliver honest, liberating, occasionally downright mesmerising songwriting, so hard to come by these days. Their melodies are charged, touching and without any unnecessary fanfare. Probably that's why they don't top the charts.
They write the melodious, intimate, charming, stirring soundtrack to our lives. Surrounded by our share of screwed-up minds, we whistle - or scream something like that to stay afloat. It works just fine.
Text by rocketsInsolitude, images by The Veils tumblr - since security managed, yet again, to get hold of my camera. Godamn..