UK-based The Veils have released their fifth “Total Depravity” via Nettwerk Records.
The album reunites the band with producer Adam ‘Atom’ Greenspan, who’s partnership with producer Nick Launay has led to essential releases from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Band Of Skulls and many others. Andrews and El-P (from Run The Jewels) met up in various locales to collaborate together. Over a two-year period, Total Depravity was recorded at Estúdios Sá da Bandeira in Portugal, Konk Studios in London, Casa Lynch in Los Angeles and El-P’s studio in Upstate New York.
“A crucial aspect of this album has been the involvement El-P who I met outside a bar in downtown LA, and to whom I have fast become very good friends. He introduced himself firstly as a sincere fan of our band, and we got to talking about music and all the good stuff. The very next day we ended up at his friend Wilder’s house in Eagle Rock and we wrote and produced the song “Axolotl.” The vocal was sung directly into the keyboard of a laptop and was all completed very quickly. I then began to work with the band back in London and recording songs with Atom Greenspan, some of which were then taken to El-P during breaks in Run the Jewels hefty touring schedule and then messed with them further. We were also fortunate to work with Dean Hurley on one song in LA,” says frontman Finn Andrews.
Andrew adds, “over a period of roughly 2 years an album began to take shape. There is a large cast of characters on this record. L. Ron Hubbard, Axolotls of course, kind natured crocodiles, a psychotic truck driver, The Pope and Ingrid Bergman all get a look in. The songs are all stories of various kinds; some experienced firsthand, others fabricated for my own amusement. It’s the first time I’ve ever written songs using mutilated loops and sounds as a starting point, though some of the songs also began on piano and were messed with later.”
The striking album cover is by the elusive Italian artist Nicola Samorí, known for the eerie beauty of his figurative work and a dedication to the preservation of classical styles and themes. The heavy Renaissance influence that runs through the body of his work is masterfully and systematically deconstructed to create pieces that are both romantic and violent; which makes his paintings all the more raw.
“‘Axolotl’ boasts menacing instrumentation with Run The Jewels’ trademark stomp-and-sludge slowed to a creeping march over which Andrews waxes poetic about the titular amphibian, amongst other vaguely-religious and horrific imagery. All the reverential doom and gloom reaches a fever pitch when Andrews proclaims: “Who needs the devil when you’ve got the lord?” But by the time the dismally grand array of guitar solos and trumpets in the outro fade away, the Veils make the two opposing forces sound like one in the same.” – Stereogum