Lorna Donley & the Veil Time Stands Still LP

Anglophilic Chicago post-punks DA broke up not long after the release of their 1982 Time Will Be Kind 12″, and by 1986, vocalist/bassist Lorna Donley and guitarist David Thomas had regrouped in a new project called the VEIL, tabling much of DA’s AU PAIRS/SIOUXSIE-style starkness in pursuit of something more unabashedly pop-oriented. The VEIL recorded throughout the late ’80s while trying to grab the brass ring of a major label deal, but never managed any kind of official release before ceasing to exist in 1989, with the ten selections on Time Stands Still actually having been first culled from an archive of cassettes that Thomas had surrendered to a thrift store. There’s a faint DA-shaped shadow cast over “Offa My Blox,” with its tense guitar/bass interplay and Donley’s solemn but powerful vocals, and to a lesser extent, the moody “A.C. Radio” (minus its ’80s radio-ready guitar solos), but just don’t expect any companion pieces to the icy and dead-serious classic “Dark Rooms,” as what’s on offer here is fairly straightforward and very much of-the-era new wave/college rock. There’s admittedly some duds in the mix (Thomas taking over the mic on “Your Hand in Mine” was not a great call), but there’s also some real gems—”Time Stands Still” and “Crack the Sky” follow in the strong Midwestern power pop tradition of SHOES and the SHIVVERS, and “Hold Me” is the sort of massively hooky and pleading jangle-rock belter that should have been in heavy rotation on Dave Kendall-era 120 Minutes in between, like, ROBYN HITCHCOCK and THROWING MUSES. A true historical excavation, with all respects due to forever-icon Lorna Donley (rest in power).