Teething Veils

Etxe Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Some might say for a first album to be a double LP with over 20 songs might be a bit ahead of one's self. However, when you're talking about DC songwriter Greg Svitil and his outlet Teething Veils, it only makes sense. Having been gigging around the area for more than five years already and releasing a cassette with two separate songs that were 25 minute each, it only seemed natural for Svitil to do something atypical. For this new project, he enlisted over a dozen musicians, and the result is more instruments than you could imagine and several guest vocalists to help my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Velorio come to life.

As one might expect when punching the numbers, there is a whole lot of variety here. Cellos, violas and Svitil's plaintive voice often paint a somber picture, as many of the songs reside on the dismal side of the spectrum. But things often change in very unexpected ways. “Ossifier” sounds like a primitive recording from a metal band with shrieked vocals, and equally interesting is “You Write On My Face,” which is a fuzzy, organ heavy five minutes. When you compare tracks like these versus the stripped back “Cobblestone,” which is just Svitil almost whispering and gentle guitars, or "Open Armarium," which is an instrumental with just pianos and mournful strings, it hardly seems like the same band, though it's just this sort of randomness that makes this album charming.

Still, there are plenty of songs that tread the sort of modern day indie rock we're all accustomed to. “Pre-Dawn Rain” is an upbeat, quirky anomaly with female backing vocals while the rousing "Moonbeam Transmissions" and the soaring "What Does A Black Hole Sound Like?" are a couple of the louder, fuller tracks included.

Some people are going to find this absolutely confusing with a mix of nice, melodic songs spread out between disjointed spurts of bizarre sounds. People who listen to music purely for entertainment, looking for the quick, tuneful ear candy fix, will certainly run screaming from Teething Veils. But for those who like to dissect every moment of an album, nearly trying to get inside the songwriter's head and see how they perceive the world, this is nothing short of fascinating.

Rating: B+

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