These days, to keep fans waiting four years for a new album is an incredibly risky move to make, potentially career suicide. Deaf Havana have done just that. What appeared to be a continual rise in fans, attention, publicity and musicianship during their Old Souls period, suddenly came to a halt. A drought in inspiration, communication, creativity and finances lead to a prolonged pause in activity and the future of Deaf Havana was blurry for everyone, the band included.
But the long-awaited release of All These Countless Nights brings clarity to both the unpredicted extended break and the future for the band; a new outlook to a new release that bears all.
The opening track, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ is a foreshadowing of the sound of the album as a whole. They’ve unusually combined the work of the past six years to create a seamless new approach that still possesses that distinct “Deaf Havana sound”. The initial acoustic guitar chord sequence is reminiscent of fan-favourite ‘Hunstanton Pier’ from Fools and Worthless Liars but the layer of keys and explosive chorus ties in more with the themes in Old Souls. Nevertheless, it’s a strong and memorable opening that screams out hopefulness.
‘Trigger’ radiates that positivity and ‘onwards and upwards’ attitude that listeners were so promised with exposing lyrics like “my future will never be my past”. ‘L.O.V.E’ reveals the same emotional vulnerability in “I took a step back…I’m not proud of myself”, whilst melodically being more brooding. But the anthemic textures are thinned out in ballad ‘Happiness’ to truly unmask the (according to singer, James Veck-Gilodi) “saddest and most honest” song, exploring the themes of anxiety and its impact on relationships.
Multiple musical influences begin to crawl their way into All These Countless Nights too. A heavy prominent bass line acting as the main feature in ‘Fever’ is almost progressive within it’s own genre; the slight melancholic country elements in ‘Like a Ghost’ that are inconspicuous, yet still act as the USP for that track; even ‘England’, rhythmically, holds a small aspect of funk, which sets it apart from the rest of the album. These are representative of a step towards further experimentation for Deaf Havana.
Closing the album similarly to how it opened with the idea of juxtaposition, ‘Sing’ is the epitome of optimism; imperative sing-along moments, lyrically inspiring, whereas final track, ‘Pensacola 2013’ leaves a lasting impression through mentions of neglect, death and addiction.
Without wanting to use cliche descriptions, a play of this album from start to end is an emotional rollercoaster. But the ability to allow listeners to experience this is a strong indication of excellent song-writing abilities. Veck-Gilodi’s lyrics “I never truly cleared my cluttered mind” now seems a contradiction, because it appears he’s done just that. It goes to show that genuine experiences, honesty, allowing the world to see the truth really does pay off.
Deaf Havana’s future is clear again.