The Veitch Boys (frontman Michael Veitch and his assembly of studio talent) play surf-rock in the style of The Beach Boys. In fact, they appear to be Veitch's favorite group, if not the one that has influenced their self-titled EP The Veitch Boys the most. Built on rich, dense vocal harmonies and the bright guitar sounds of classic pop, Veitch has closely analyzed how his favorite ‘60s hits work and used that to craft his own songs. While he largely stays faithful to the genre's earmarks musically and lyrically, there are a few moments where he puts a new spin on things to great effect.
“Drive” is the opener, a light-hearted jingle, that like many songs before it and countless others in the future, frames the joys of freedom as driving with no particular destination during the days of summer. A bit typical lyrically, the music itself offers solid hooks in the bouncing keyboard melody and the beautifully harmonized vocals (a recurring element throughout the EP). It's the song that comes closest to that vaunted Beach Boys sound: mid-tempo and filled with the requisite background “ooooooh,” it's catchy and universal. The next track “August Nights” follows similar motifs, swapping genres to dabble in doo-wop. Again, it's a nostalgic throwback, romanticizing summer for a good slow dance.
Things venture into less tried and true territory midway into the EP. “Close to the Flame” puts emphasis on piano chords while de-emphasizing to some degree the harmonized vocals. Listening passively you may think it a continuation of the last track as it carries that same swaying final number feel. But the story told, though still in Veitch's joyful tone, is surprisingly bleak. “I'm here to confess/some years were just a mess/crawling through the dark/with a knife in my chest.” Hiding behind the EP's easy-going attitude is this extended moment of self-recognition and defeat. Certainly the odd duck in the group, but thanks to the delivery and execution it doesn't sound too far out of place.
“My Old Car” offers a similar inversion of the happy-go-lucky ways of surf-rock. The sunny strumming gives way to detailed descriptions of how the treasured old car has been destroyed by the progression of time. Though not as hopeless as the previously described track (here the memories of what the car once was trump its present state), it still hit me as a delightful shock.
Overall The Veitch Boys EP is a nice walk through the past with a few unexpected turns onto roads less traveled. Though a bit too comfortable at times, it plays close—and very well—to the roots it seeks to honor.
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