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Finn Andrews - One Piece at a Time

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 13 / 6 / 2019



Finn Andrews - One Piece at a Time
Label: Nettwerk
Format: CD

intro

After five albums as the Veils' frontman Finn Andrews releases his debut solo album, his most intimate collection of songs to date


‘One Piece at a Time’ is the debut solo album from Finn Andrews, frontman of the Veils. While fans of the Veils are obviously going to snap this one up, the stark beauty of every song on this album is going to win over a whole new audience for Andrews. The album is certainly Andrews' most intimate set of songs to date. One gets the feeling that the singer-songwriter has revealed more of his personal life than ever before on record. Co-produced by Tom Healy, ‘One Piece at a Time’ is a piano-dominated work of beauty. Maybe it’s because of his recent passing but as this set of ten original songs was playing the image of Scott Walker was never far away. While there are few similarities between the two singers vocally, the whole atmosphere, especially of some of Walker’s first solo era after the break-up of the Walker Brothers, hangs heavily over this set of songs. Maybe it’s Victoria Kelly’s string arrangements, or the longing in his voice but there’s something that connects the two artists' work running through these songs. The album was recorded live at The Lab in Auckland, and Andrews and Healy have captured the intimacy they were aiming for perfectly. It’s like Andrews is in the room opening up his heart and soul to you only. It makes for a refreshing change, an album that the listener can really get into and feel a part of. It’s also an incredibly beautiful set of songs. 'Don't Close Your Eyes', the closing track, does just what it should do; it sends you back to listen to the whole thing again and that’s in no little part to the gorgeous melody that surrounds that track and the angelic backing vocals from Reb Fountain and Nina Siegler. The last minute as Andrews repeats the title line over those haunting female voices singing “every night I’ll watch your back” is but one spine tingling moment, but coming as it does at the end of the album you’re left with no choice but to listen to the whole album again. The funereal, slow-opening track, ‘Love, What Can I Do?’ starts with just Andrews' voice and piano before more layers are added, creating a haunting soundscape that sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album. Andrews has described ‘Stairs to the Roof’ as a "bit of a love letter to London", capturing his feelings during the end of his time there before he returned to New Zealand. Once again there are striking background vocals, making the haunting sound of the piano even more affecting. It’s another spine-chilling moment. ‘Spirit in The Flame’ is the possessor of one of Andrews' most captivating melodies; the subtle, beautiful strings are an essential element of the song and those backing vocals are once again breathtaking. ‘One by the Venom’ is a list-song, Andrews describing various ways we might leave this world. Driven along by handclaps, the string arrangement this time builds menacingly, adding a sinister texture to the song. Beautiful is a word that’s been used a few times in this assessment of ‘One Piece at a Time’ and I make no excuses for that; the album really is a thing of beauty, one of those albums that you reach for during those sleepless nights when you need music to be your only companion, to get you through the darkness, ‘A Shot through the Heart (Then Down in Flames)’ and ‘What Strange Things Loves Do’ (with an unexpected touch of brass) are both achingly beautiful pieces of music. And, yes, those backing vocals are still as affective as Andrews lead. ‘One Piece at a Time’ hasn’t made this listener want to grab any album by the Veils which is what I imagine will be the reaction for anyone who is new to Finn Andrews; it’s just left me desperate to hear more of the same from this talented musician.



Track Listing:-
1 Love, What Can I Do?
2 Stairs to the Roof
3 The Spirit in the Flame
4 One by the Venom
5 A Shot Through the Heart (Then Down in Flames)
6 What Strange Things Lovers Do
7 Al Pacino / Rise and Fall
8 Hollywood Forever
9 One Piece at a Time
10 Don't Close Your Eyes



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