Barren arrangements are the order of the day in Teething Veils new album Canopy of Crimson. A step away from the lush orchestration and arrangements of their last album Sea and Sun, the band creates an intimate atmosphere to touch on heavy topics. Using their distinctive sound, the band looks at death, addiction, suicide and grief.
Kevin Buckholdt (drums), Hannah Burris (viola), Craig Garrett (bass) and Greg Svitil (guitar, piano, vocals) have stripped their tone to the barest elements. The only additional musician on the album is Kelly Servick (violin) who is featured on two tracks and brings her expressive musicality to them.
The album starts with ‘A House After A Hurricane’ that has a very melancholic vibe. Svitil’s vocals have a dark tone to them that adds to the heavy subject of the song. There is something morbid about this song that is strangely captivating. The melody is barer than their previous releases, but still has a depth to it that is wonderful to listen to.
The pace picks up with ‘Sewn Hands’ as there is a western vibe to this song. However, the strings on this track have a haunting beauty to them. They soar over you and create an atmospheric yet intimate tone. The vocals add to the intimacy of the song with their slower and smooth delivery that is somewhat at odds with the driving beat. There are a few layers to this track that work together very well and grab your attention.
‘Littleton Mill’ has a slower pace and a gentle melody. The melody makes you think about a clear night that has a chill and stillness to the air. The song is really deep as it looks at death and what happens next. The swelling strings combine with the gentle guitars to weave an atmospheric backdrop for the contemplations of the lyrics.
Kelly Servick uses her haunting violin to draw you into ‘Bare Trees, Silver Sky’. Her violin dances with Burris’ viola in a sweeping string melody that swirls around you. This melody whirls around Svitil’s soothing vocals that carry you to a place of sadness and loss. There is a lushness to this song that cuts through you and makes it one of my favourite on the album.
The next track is ‘Showered In The Sunlight’ which has a happier tone to it than the songs that come before it. There is a lightness to the melody that opposes the lyrics creating conflicting elements that add something to the song. While the lyrics bring a sense of sadness to the track, there is also something a bit liberating about them.
The light piano opening of ‘Everything Foul Rained Down’ melds with the deep tones of the viola to draw you in. The vocals create this lower layer to the song with their depth and pace. There is something sinister to the melody that echoes the lyrics. You can also hear that the song is building up to something before the musical exhale at the end.
‘Walking With You, Walking With Me’ brings back a somewhat lighter tone to the melody. Servick adds her violin to this song as well, but it is not as haunting. There is a lightness to the violin’s expression that matches the happiness of the lyrics. The combination of melody and lyrics create a track that transports you to a slow walk along the sea cliffs. While the song has a lightness, there is a yearning to the vocals.
The last and title track continue the slow pace of the album. This song has a poetry to the lyrics that is a pleasure to listen to. The slower pace of the melody may make you think this is a return to the deep melancholy of the early track, but the string lines add a richness to the song.
Taking a step back from their usual orchestration, Teething Veils uses the bare elements of their band in Canopy of Crimson. The bare arrangements stand out starkly against the deep vocal performances and the haunting appearance of Kelly Servick’s violin. Each song tackles a deep topic and they are all steep in melancholy with a few rays of light bursting through.