The only common thread running through The Veils from their 2004 debut The Runaway Found to this exceptional follow-up is frontman Finn Andrews himself. Having seen off various label difficulties to make their debut, Andrews emerged from the aftermath as the only member of the band and went back to New Zealand to regroup. Nux Vomica is the fruits of his labour and it's an impressive progression from the folk-tinged debut.
It's quite evident that the success of some bands can be attributed to the group effort and that sometimes it's just the work of one leading vision. Listening to Nux Vomica it's not hard to feel that Andrews' very presence in the band is not the only factor that makes him The Veils. His voice has evolved into an all commanding and utterly compelling power that drives this record and if he hadn't formed Grinderman would have Nick Cave wishing he'd made it.
From the opening Not Yet we get the simmering tension and howling ferociousness of Andrews' gothic story-telling and the ease with which this band can climb to majestic heights. And it's from this lofty position that Andrews is able to cast his eye over this world and pose his questions of faith and purpose that run through each song. The manner in which these questions are asked is thrillingly varied. The kitchen sink domesticity of Advice For Young Mothers To Be sees Andrews assume the position of the young mother-to-be and her sad story is told to the false jaunt of a Divine Comedyesque sing along comparing her current state to "this crown of thorns." This theme is expressed once more with startling contrast on Jesus For The Jugular. The churches dependance on both sides of the good and evil spectrum is highlighted with blood-curdling honesty over a gritty blues riff. It's the fiercest song on the record going for the jugular in both style and content and it's not until the beautifully serene Under The Folding Branches that you realise how much of a rest you needed. The comfort of these folded branches has Andrews daring to hope for the future claiming "Now is not too late, heaven can wait another year or so."
I could remain in these serene surroundings for ever if it weren't for the overwhelming pull of the title track that follows. This is where Andrews really lays his cards on the table daring to confront God himself, firing question after question "What say you Lord, why is the truth of us so hard to unveil?" With slowly tightening fists and rising anger the song threatens to explode all the way through and though it by no means ends this album it seems a fitting point to end this review. From here on in you coast to the finish line with more questions than when you started but thank Christ there's people like Finn Andrews who can ask them so perfectly.