The Veils Nux Vomica

There are three stages to experiencing the Veils’ Nux Vomica. The first is intrigue: there are some strong tunes here, capably sculpted by a band that can confidently move from garage blues to bouncy ska to piano-led balladeering. Vocalist and songwriter Finn Andrews has a way with words and what sounds like a strong, impassioned voice, and passion is always good, right? Well, as the second stage (mild botheration) demonstrates, not always. The continual employment of that forced, nasal, "just downed a shot of bourbon” snarl really begins to grate, especially on the mellower songs. It soon starts to become apparent that it isn’t just the voice that is forced. The posturing as the tortured drunk, the last call piano man serenades and the constant invocation of "the lord” brings on the third stage: out and out irritation. It need not be this way — the album’s best tracks are the ones that avoid these affectations ("Calliope!,” "Advice for Young Mothers to Be”). As a musician, Andrews seems sharp enough but as a performer, he clearly isn’t comfortable in his own skin yet. (Rough Trade)