Deaf Havana have proved themselves to be a band that embraces change and development in their musical style. It’s bands like this that create a lasting impression on people; hype quickly dies away from an artists that release music that hasn’t pushed any boundaries or changed since their previous record. The difference between their last two albums Meet Me Halfway, At Least (2009) and Fools and Worthless Liars (2011) was considerable; the difference in production and musical style is very noticeable and the departure of the band’s screamer still causes debates to this day.
Upon releasing the first single from the album, ‘Boston Square’, it was easily presumed that Old Souls was going to be very different to their previous releases. This is confirmed on the first listen to the album, Deaf Havana’s style is heavily influenced by pop-rockers of the 80s like Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams on this record. The band has introduced pianist Max Britton and guitarist Matthew Veck-Gilodi as new members of the group, increasing the size of the line-up and the size of their sound as well.
As if the additional band members weren’t enough for them, Deaf Havana introduce horn and string sections in most of the songs on the album, performing quite significant parts on a few of them and even a solo on ‘Everybody’s Dancing’.
The album starts off strong, sporting great melodies and choruses along with a superb introduction to the band’s new sound. With strings in ‘Boston Square’ and the heavily piano driven ‘Lights’, the album’s start is the highlight of the album, especially with the happier and more upbeat ‘Everybody’s Dancing’. After a small, uninteresting part of the album we get ‘Speeding Cars’ an upbeat ballad that holds the listener in a moment of reverie without reducing the tempo of the album, a brilliant song to look out for.
An interesting part of the album is the song ‘Saved’, the slide guitar gives the song a slight bluesy feel that goes with the laid-back feeling the song creates. Another interesting composition is the closing song on the album ‘Caro Padre’ which focuses on creating hooks with vocal lines and harmonies more than any other song on the record. The sound they’ve gone for is amplified with their use of a choir alongside the band and the way the production and effects drain from the song as the music dies down to just James Veck-Gilodi and an acoustic guitar at the end is beautiful.
Overall, Deaf Havana’s venture into new sounds and styles as been a great success and this album deserves more than one listen. It might sound completely different from their previous material but stands on its own as a hit record.