This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Luke Doucet is one of those guys who can do it all. The former Winnipegger is a hotshot guitar-slinger, a skillful tunesmith, a whip-smart lyricist, a charismatic frontman, and not a bad singer to boot. So what more does he want?
Well, on the third album from his band Veal, Doucet’s motive is quite simple — he wants to rock! But like the natural multi-tasker he is, Luke doesn’t confine himself to just one musical style. So he puts his power trio through their paces on these wide-ranging 12 cuts, smoothly and confidently steering them from surfadelic twang ’n’ rumble (Defiler) to gnarly blooz-rock (Everybody Wants More Cocaine) to Marc Bolanish glam-boogie (Girlfriend Parts II & III) to jangly rockabilly (Mitzi’s) to rangy Crazy Horse country-rock (Circles) to woozy noir-rock (Miss Brazil) to something that can only be described as dub-hop garage-reggae (Fader Chief). And by the time he reaches the end of the line — in just 42 underproduced, overdriven, fat-free minutes, no less — you’re left with Veal’s strongest, smartest and most satisfying disc to date. Not only does Doucet do it all on Embattled Hearts — he does it very well.