The Veils The Runaway Found

[Rough Trade; 2004]

Styles: brit-rock, pop-rock
Others: The Verve, Starsailor, Elbow

It's hard to be the new buzz band of Britain. Most of these bands went on to respectable success but lacked any vulnerable commitment to grow as artists. Such is the case for acts like Coldplay, Oasis, and (gasp) Morrissey, comfortable in their respected niche, seldom progressing or improving their cherished sound. Nevertheless, Britain has always left its musical throne partly vacant, awaiting the arrival of the next big thing. Today, The Veils, a four-piece London band, have created enough stir to become the next big thing. Fronted by Finn Andrews, son of legendary XTC collaborator Barry Andrews, The Veils have just released its first album The Runaway Found, from the strength of its first three singles "The Wild Son," "Guiding Light," and "The Tide That Left And Never Came Back."

The Veils' most peculiar asset is its adaptability to numerous different musical styles. Yet, The Veils' most cumbersome shortcoming is its inability to create its own distinct sound. After several listens to the album, much of the songs sound very similar to successful British bands from before and after. This is evident on the newest single "The Wild Son," mimicking the profitable sorrow of Coldplay's Chris Martin and its balladry. "The Tide That Left and Never Came Back" draws in close proximity to the musical prowess of Morrissey's entire catalogue. And so on it goes, "Guiding Light" exemplifies the dreamy The Verve, while "More Heat More Light" is fascinatingly similar to the recent success of indie poseurs Clearlake. The remainder of the album falls between Starsailor, Travis, Elbow, Alfie, etc, always raising the question: who are The Veils?

The Runaway Found is not a bad album at all. It resonates a true grit and passion, especially from Andrews' raspy, mesmerizing vocal harmonies. In fact, the album is enjoyable, rollicking through several memorable periods of Brit-rock, reminding listeners of why we actually adore this fashionable music in the first place. But an identity crisis is apparent, relinquishing The Veils into the realms of indistinct appearance. And the question remains: will The Veils eschew their formulaic rock elements to don a more unique identity? Or will they become another chapter in the ever going transformation of yesterday's and today's Brit-rock?

1. The Wild Son
2. Guiding Light
3. Lavinia
4. More Heat Than Light
5. The Tide That Left And Never Came Back
6. The Leavers Dance
7. Talk Down The Girl
8. The Valleys Of New Orleans
9. Vicious Traditions
10. The Nowhere Man