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Clear To Land (8/10)
on 24 July 2009
Finn Andrews continues his Jeff Buckley-cum-Nick Cave-circa-Murder Ballads vocal odyssey as the figurehead of the seemingly perennial outsiders Veils. Peddling earnest piano-ballads and considered indie rock with a solid dash of Echo And The Bunnymen-gloom, Bernard Butler-produced `Sit Down By The Fire' sounds as it ought to, a bit like Dog Man Star. `The Letter' is what Interpol's Our Love To Admire should have sounded like, all spooky walls of sound and aimed at the correct distance from the charts.
It all goes a little Dig, Lazarus, Dig on `Killed By The Boom', the emotive vitriol becomes spoken and frenzied. Ed Harcourt bobs in from time to time with his Hammond organ. Assorted strings and a change of pace and mood in `The House She Lived In' provide welcome variety, if not heavyweight merit. Nowhere is Veils' maturity however more evident on the deservedly indulgent and epic `Larkspur', which rolls around the tale-end of the album, writhing like colliding weather fronts before releasing pouring anguish after a lull before the break. Andrews exorcises over tribal drumming, heavy, gothic bass and protesting, high-end guitar work. Remember, this album started in Suede-country, and closes in cyclical piano outro, acknowledging the fact with the track's title, `Begin Again'.
Sun Gangs is an inventive experience but one that rarely challenges. It is somehow a natural extension of both albums before it, yet sufficiently different to discuss evolution. The Veils started in the 60s with a respectful collection of light and fragile jangles before embracing the dark, eye-linered side and allowing their inner, love-spurned romantic out. On Sun Gangs, this battered heart is lifted and offered to the listener, literally on its sleeve.