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"It looks an ugly world out there" moans Veils leader Finn Andrews as the New Zealand quintet opens their sophomore album Nux Vomica, and the outlook doesn't get much sunnier as the veil is lifted to reveal eleven theatrical and contradictory tracks. Nux Vomica is the Latin name for a poison tree of South East Asia, source of deadly strychnine, and the Veils seem to have ingested just enough to hurt--behind the alluring melody and lush instrumentation of each song here, there's an unmistakable menace seeping through. The shadow of Echo and the Bunnymen looms large (the title track could have been a "Killing Moon" b-side), and more than a trace of the punctuated rhythms of past New Zealand indie notables the Verlaines in the somber and swaggering "Jesus for the Jugular." The enhanced disc also contains a video for "Advice for Young Mothers to Be", which might cause concern at Child Protective Services if it weren't so amusing.