The problem with having a legacy or looks that open doors is that you might be asked to step through before you're ready. As the history of child stars attests, entertainment is an industry that eats its young. Music can be a bit more forgiving, but it's still difficult to forge a creative identity while still short of adulthood.
Finn Andrews, son of keyboard player Barry Andrews (XTC, Shreikback), had just graduated when the promise of an opportunity to record his first album took him from New Zealand to London. A good-looking, 17-year-old with a warm, sonorous baritone, he signed a record deal for The Veils within two weeks of his arrival.
Uninterested in music as a youth, he discovered a passion for it as a teen, after his parents had split, and it soon became all he wanted to do. In 2004, The Veils released "The Runaway Found" on Virgin Records and embarked on a European tour, only to break up two months in.
"The songs on that first record were among the first I'd ever written," he said. "I felt like I had done these songs fairly quickly, but I had to keep playing them. So it was kind of a frustrating time, and that's probably why it all collapsed pretty quickly. I couldn't deal with it. I wasn't really built for it back then."
BATCH OF SONGS
Undeterred, Andrews wrote another batch of songs and slowly assembled another Veils incarantion to record 2006's "Nux Vomica." Two years of touring followed, a time in which Andrews, bassist Sophia Burn, guitarist Dan Raishbrook and then-drummer Henning Dietz were living in an Oklahoma City warehouse as a temporary U.S. tour hub, provided by building owner and CD Warehouse CEO Chris Salyer.
The Veils returned to the studio for April's "Sun Gangs," and will report to the Opolis on Monday for a show with touring drummer Raife Burchell.
Andrews wrote the album in the wake of an ending, five-year relationship, lending it dark undertones. One of the highlights is "It Hits Deep," in which Andrews sighs, "Now there's nothing keeping my heart from breaking."
"That song's pretty tied into the relationship ending around that time. I guess it's kind of optimistic. There are one or two songs on the record that are seeing the bright side instead of the messy end," he said. "'Sit Down By the Fire' and 'It Hits Deep' are kind of the optimistic songs in the face of all this hideousness."
Andrews may consider a song welcoming his heart to break positive, but one also needs to remember this is a fellow who once told a journalist he was happy the album's sessions were contentious. "I'm a perverse human being," he said, with a laugh.
Although the recording might've been strained, it probably had a lot to do jumping back into the studio immediately following The Veils' nonstop touring. They were able to do that because Andrews did plenty of writing at the time. They tried out material during shows, sound checks and random recording sessions. Many songs got chucked, but it meant the ones that made the album were generally road-tested.
The exception is "Larkspur," an extended, slow-building jam built on a riff of gathering intensity and dynamics that extends beyond the eight-minute mark. It was recorded on the first take, showcasing the act's solid instincts and sinewy tightness, as well as Andrews' shambolic croon, reminiscent of Jim Morrison on "The End."
Overall, Andrews isn't sure he likes woodshedding the songs on the road.
"Sometimes it effects what you think of it too much if people like it," he said. "I think maybe it's good keeping it to yourself until the last moment."
Indeed, he's not sure what or how he'd like to record for the next album, or even if there will be one.
"I only want to make a record when it's burning out of you "¦ (so) it's always touch-and-go whether we'll make another one; it depends on getting that feeling again," he said. "I don't know where we'll go next really. It seems like when it settles somewhere, there's a major inclination to throw it all in the air again."
The Veils with Foreign Born and The Other Girls perform at 10 p.m. Monday at Opolis, 113 N. Crawford in Norman. "Chris Parker