More than twelve years on from the release of their debut, alternative indie outfit The Veils have returned with their fifth studio album, Total Depravity. Renowned for their melancholic undertones and the intriguing stage presence of frontman Finn Andrews, the band take on a darker and slightly more aggressive sound for this record, gifting listeners with a scattering of rock-fuelled electro-pop and soul-shaking basslines.
While the distorted guitars and heavier atmospheres of opening track ‘Axolotl’ naturally compliment Andrews’ talents, fans of the band’s previous work may find this change a little too unfamiliar. However, ‘Low Lays the Devil’ soon brings back the sultry vocals and charming melodies of earlier releases, assisted by a steady, pounding drum beat, while the rhythmic ‘Swimming with Crocodiles’ and harmonious ballad ‘Iodine and Iron’ feature an intense emotional undertone.
Tracks such as ‘King of Chrome’ and ‘Here Comes the Dead’ seem to occupy the middle ground between synth-heavy trance and gothic post-punk, while the combined vocals of Andrews’ and the rest of the band during ‘In the Blood’ offers a haunting, somewhat frightening component to the record. ‘House of Spirits’ is perhaps the gloomiest of Total Depravity’s songs, but would fit just as well on any other Veils record, while the romantically creepy ‘Do Your Bones Glow At Night?’ takes an alternative approach, with an infectious chorus from bassist Sophia Burn.
Moving closer towards the end of the album, ‘In the Nightfall’ takes the form of a simplistic and heartfelt love ballad before title track ‘Total Depravity’ combines overwhelming synths, echoing drum beats and distorted melodies as Andrews’ emotive vocals fade in and out. Although The Veils have expanded their musical aptitudes brilliantly, the band has manage to stick to their roots somewhat, providing an intriguing listen for new fans, and a new variety of combined genres for their previous following.