Herald rating: * * * *
On the Veils' first album, leading light Finn Andrews sounded less like the son of XTC/Shriekback guy Barry, than the spawn of Morrissey and many an 80s Brit outfit given to grand and occasionally gothic gestures.
On the second, recorded under the guidance of veteran producer Nick Launay after the Veils original English line-up parted ways, Andrews would appear to have even loftier aims.
Chief among them would seem to be becoming his generation's own Nick Cave.
Many of the tracks, whether it's the hollering stomps of Not Yet and Jesus for the Jugular or the piano ballad Under the Folding Branches all sound like they could have sprung from the Bad Seeds' torture chamber.
But despite the risks of playing homage to rock's Prince of Darkness, Andrews and band carry it off.
Lyrically, he is punching above his weight for an early twentysomething, with his abundant religious and mythical references and his flamboyant songs of love and death.
Though perhaps the title of Calliope was inspired as much by his old Devonport neighbourhood as Homer's muse.
And there's a real fire to tracks like the piano-pounding Pan and the title track.
Yes, the Veils can sound like they're working from a borrowed and blood-stained script.
But it's hard not to be impressed by the force of their grand theatrics and passionate grasp of the classics.
Verdict: Spellbinding second album from our own young wizard of rock's dark arts
Label: Rough Trade/Shock
The Veils play Big Day Out '07 on the Converse Essential Stage