Perhaps not as glistening as their most recent release Sun Gangs, Nux Vomica by the upstart band The Veils is worthy of mention. Though it’s perhaps less polished than Sun Gangs, the songs contained within possess more raw power, energy and even consistency than their newer offering.
Skipper of the group Finn Andrews possesses a voice that trembles, wails and screams with a feverish emotion that at times channels the likes of Nick Cave, The Cure’s Robert Smith, and even Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Though it is more than his voice which carries the record, as his skilled accompaniment makes a bit more accessible what would amount to an otherwise be a fatiguing listening experience. Like Modest Mouse, The Veils have rotated members routinely, though it doesn’t show as this group, like MM, play so tightly together that from album to album they make it work effortlessly, surprisingly so since much of the songs are up tempo.
Nux Vomica is a fairly dark album. Songs like Jesus for The Jugular, Not Yet, Nux Vomica, A Birthday Present, and bonus track Night Thoughts of a Tired Surgeon exude a barely contained, simmering rage from Andrews, singing of frenzy and powerlessness. Though deflated by slower paced and introspective songs like Under the Folding Branches, this album is a jarring work that demands attention and further listening.
Gideon Defoe’s Pirate! adventure series could quite possibly be one of the most cleverly conceived treatises on existentialism yet conceived. Sure, each installment is anachronistic, brief, side-splittingly funny, or what the erudites term “humorous”, and given the fact that the whole series not-so-subtly gains its impetus from Defoe’s unrequited love, is besides the point. Doesn’t existentialism entail all of the above anyway?
In any case, take Defoe’s latest exposition, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon, whereby our faithful and true Pirate Captain takes a brief respite to ponder his place in the pirate world, and whether perhaps beekeeping or even the unparalleled superciliousness of an exiled Napoleon can provide some meaning or contentment in this lifetime. For it is here that our fearless captain comes to a realization all Pirate Captains must eventually consider:
The Pirate Captain sighed. ‘Well then, I suppose we’d better go and see what’s more interesting than me.’
Beyond the philosophical reverberations of the work, we have the usual salty complement to offset the dueling shenanigans of the Pirate Captain and Napoleon; specifically, the pirate with a scarf, the pirate in green, and Jennifer the Victorian all lend a supporting hand. As this is a work of action and adventure, while reading of luxurious beards, ham and the highly democratic war over the St. Helena Residents’ association, take heed and consider your place in the pirate world.