Sometimes you can just tell when musicians have done their homework. You know they've flipped through crates of dusty vinyl for hidden gems, scoured pawn shops for battered treasures and pored over records with the obsessiveness of music snobs they hope to call fans. Veils frontman and songwriter Finn Andrews is one of those musicians, and Sun Gangs, the group's third full-length, shows a band unafraid to re-imagine the rock history he's so greedily consumed. In the past, Andrews has earned comparisons to Nick Cave for his bluesy Americana croon, but Sun Gangs goes well beyond that association. Songs like "Sit Down by the Fire" and "Scarecrow" tap into the cinematic Springsteen woes that the Arcade Fire have built a career on. "Larkspur" is a brilliant interpretation of the Doors' "The End," complete with psychedelic swells and eerie tension. "The Letter" taps into the gothic shoegaze of '80s London, and "The House She Lived In" is a slow dance number made for prom night 1955. Andrews seems to understand that intangible factor that made hits, well ... hits, and is now applying those elements to his own ballads and barnburners.
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