Unveiling Himself
New Zealand Listener|March 16-22, 2019

Finn Andrews has put his band aside for an intimate solo album and tour.

A year or so ago, Finn Andrews stepped on to a Netherlands stage and sat at a beautiful Steinway grand piano. But he wasn’t sure it was quite him.

The frontman of dark indie NZ-UK band The Veils usually played guitar. But he had a new song, One Piece at a Time, a deceptively gentle piano waltz of grand themes (“There’s no shortage of brutish ambition/In this furnace of stars”), with a touch of Bob Dylan’s Where Teardrops Fall about it.

Now, the song has gone from being the odd one out on The Veils’ setlist to title track of Andrews’ first solo album. The record turns his simple, sympathetic piano playing into a virtue, and that turns the push and pull of family relationships into the inspiration for beautiful songwriting.

The elegant Steinway, he remembers, made him feel scruffy. He worried he might sully it with his playing. It also reminded him that there were far better ivory-ticklers in his family.

His father, Barry, played frenetic keyboards in the early incarnation of XTC and in art-guitarist Robert Fripp’s shortlived League of Gentlemen, then fronted his own band, Shriekback, in the 1980s.

Even Barry’s mother, Minnie, loved to play the piano at his grandad’s Brixton pub in South London, but never took her talent further than the lounge bar.

London-born Andrews started out in music as a teenager living with his mother, Vivienne Kent, in Devonport. Having spent his early childhood swapping between the two hemispheres, he quit Takapuna Grammar School and moved to London to start his band after sending his Auckland-recorded demos to British labels.

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