Change is an ever-present theme for London-based band The Veils. Whether it is the disbandment of the original line-up in 2004, drummer Henning Dietz announcing his leave mere weeks before the band planned to embark on a North American tour, or simply the expansion and evolution of their sound, The Veils have weathered storms and subsequently come out on top, as Sun Gangs clearly proves.
“Sit Down by the Fire” sets the town for the entire album, as any great opening track should do. Frontman Finn Andrews strikes a universal tone when he sings, “there ain’t no way to get what you want/ some day a little rain is bound to fall,” however the juxtaposition between Andrews’ melancholy lyrics and upbeat tempo, as well as gospel-choir influenced chorus portray a hopeful, as opposed to hopeless, message.
Taking a sharp right turn on the title track, “Sun Gangs” is a bittersweet, heart-wrenching melody that Andrews navigates to perfection with his aching vocals. “Sun Gangs,” while musically simplified, is complex in lyrical nature, and the emotion that seeps from this song could never be matched with over-production or extensive layering. Again, heading in a completely different direction, Andrews channels is inner Robert Plant, straining, and screaming to hit every note against the erratic syncopation and distorted guitars on “Larkspur.” It’s beautifully chaotic, and yet completely understandable.
Sun Gangs runs the gamut from gospel-inspired rock anthem to emotionally stirring ballad with ease. Andrews’ vocals are just as entrancing as they have always been, while musically Sun Gangs is a step ahead of The Veils’ previous releases: still melancholy yet not as sullen. There was an obvious progression in the lyrics, a hint of maturation, yet The Veils remain true to form. Sun Gangs is alternative rock at its best, covering all varieties of the genre and doing so in a listener-friendly manner. Luckily for everyone in the United States, the Veils are hitting the road this summer. If their live show is half as alluring as their latest album, it is not to be missed.