After a series of personal and professional woes, Deaf Havana has returned with new management, a new label, and a new album titled All Those Countless Nights. The combination of all this turmoil nearly caused the union to implode. Despite this, Deaf Havana has persevered to deliver its fourth LP and the first since 2013’s Old Souls.
Deaf Havana is a British rock band formed in 2005. The group’s achievements include touring as an opener for Bruce Springsteen.
Frontman James Veck-Gilodi’s voice is the centerpiece to the opening verse in Ashes, Ashes. During this section, the vocals are backed by no more than meek strumming on an acoustic guitar and some nuanced bass notes. Things begin to sound powerful with the commencement of the vocal harmonies in the chorus. From this point on, the drummer maintains a beat and the distortion kicks in. And yet, the easy pop demeanor in the opening verse remains throughout the song, despite a vast contrast in decibels.
I distinctly hear drummer Tom Ogden tapping on the cowbell in Trigger. Another notable aspect here is the soaring chorus. Again, like the last song, the chorus commands the listener’s attention. The video for this one follows a girl, specifically the events that lead up to her attending one of the band’s live performances.
Veck-Gilodi’s lyrics frequently touch on relationships. He expounds on these troubles on the track L.O.V.E. On Happiness, he describes his addiction issues as something that’s “like a degenerate disease because it eats away at everything.”
Fever is the heaviest and grungiest of the first five songs. The intro starts with amp feedback and a muddy bass line. Even though this builds up into another bright and blaring chorus, there’s just enough coarseness to it for the run-of-the-mill headbanger to find tolerable. This stray from genre doesn’t last and the group returns to the usual formula in Like A Ghost. What struck me most about the track is the talkbox effect on the guitar starting at 55 seconds.
Track no. 8, England, is the first of a series of songs named after physical locations. This track is what you’d get if you imagine that the band invited the Red Hot Chili Peppers to a recording session.
According to an article on purevolume.com, Seattle is about feeling homesick during a tour of the U.S. “I miss my mother and the smell of rain, there’s a girl back home I love and she shares my pain,” Veck-Gilodi sings. The same article explains that the aforementioned tune England is about the frustrations of growing up in The U.K. and that the juxtaposition of these two songs is intentional. St. Paul’s is about a transitional period between relationships in a setting not far from St. Paul’s cathedral in London.
The video for Sing features a girl who loses her inhibitions and decides to steal, vandalize, and ride her skateboard through various commercial sections of a city. The imagery is fitting for the carefree vibe of the music. It really seems like it’s written to encourage people to act on any impulse that makes them happy.
The album closer, Pensacola, 2013 is a good bit darker and bluesier than most of the other compositions on this offering. But, like all those tracks, the mood swings upward.
It’s obvious that this band has honed and sharpened its songwriting skills through years of experience. This is a good listen for fans of Bruce Springsteen, Fall Out Boy and Mumford and Sons. Those who aren’t fans of this type of music may find that All Those Countless Nights is too far outside of their comfort zone.
Still, even if it’s not your taste, it’s hard not to admire Deaf Havana. After an extended hiatus, these guys have returned from an abyss of uncertainty sounding as if their positive attitudes have remained untouched. For that, I feel I must at the very least commend them.