Let it be said; this album is full of amazing songs. Sure, that’s a weird way to start off a review, but one would have to listen to this album to understand why it receives a less than stellar rating. Sun Gangs, the new album from London’s The Veils, is a vibrant affair, switching at every change of song. It drags influences from all across the globe; it does this without sounding overtly banal. Yet, something is amiss here.
On opening number “Sit Down by the Fire” singer Finn Andrews comes off like a cross between the hallowed voices of Win Butler and Will Scheff, though the music definitely lends itself to a more Arcade Fire styling as pounding piano work is maxed out with accompanying percussion and guitar strumming. You’re ready for an album full of such tunes, such great tunes, but then they put a bag over your head; you’ve awoken in a completely different place.
Title track “Sun Gangs” is a wonderful tune. It is the second track on the album, but it doesn’t have a lot of relation to the place where your journey began. Melancholy moments like this make one remember the sweetness of Spirtualized, and Spaceman’s ability to pull at your heartstrings with his voice alone; Andrews does the same, even with his lyrics. So maybe we’re in for a solemn album, and the opener was just a bit off. Wrong again.
All of a sudden we’re thrust into a space-rocker of sorts with “The Letter”, in a somewhat Muse meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sort of way. Sure, it sounds like quite an awkward affair, but it’s a striking song nonetheless, one worth listening to on repeat, at least a couple of times through. The next song is sort of a rocker, with definite leanings toward Muse. Then we’re back again to the mellower moments as the band goes into “It Hits Deep.” Once again, this song tugs at you emotionally, and that really has a lot to do with the spectacular voice of Andrews.
Still, this is the variety of songs that you are presented with in the first moments of this album, and you still have another half of the album to go, which follows the same pattern more or less. This is precisely the issue that many listeners will find when listening to the album from start to finish. The songs do not seem to connect to one another there is not a fluid movement from one place to the very next. The schizophrenic nature of the album detracts from the overall quality; this record needs some cohesiveness. Individually, there are some ridiculously good songs, but they don’t work together as a whole. Otherwise, The Veils constructed a solid effort of tunes worthy for any mix tape.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/07-the-house-she-lived-in.mp3]
Download: The Veils – The House She Lived In [MP3]