Deaf Havana – ‘All These Countless Nights’ [Review]
For Deaf Havana, the past few years have been nothing if not chaotic. With 2013’s Old Souls, the Norfolk alt-rockers broke into the UK Top Ten, hit a new level of success, and even found themselves supporting Bruce Springsteen. On the surface, Deaf Havana had achieved almost everything any given rock band could possibly hope to tick off on their bucket list.
As we tend to expect when dreaming of the future, life should have been all roses from then onwards. But financial and interpersonal communication issues came close to derailing Deaf Havana, before they made some major changes behind the scenes. After switching management companies, parting ways with record label BMG, and setting up shop in new home So Recordings, Deaf Havana are reportedly infused with fresh, vital energy, and ready to take on the world.
Behind the words and hype, All These Countless Nights is coming. And it absolutely backs up said words and hype.
This is, for me, Deaf Havana’s best album so far.
Having already tackled the worlds of post-hardcore, folk, and pop/alt-rock, Deaf Havana have already made it clear that they’re capable of turning their hands to a decent range of musical styles. On All These Countless Nights, these guys have pushed the boat out even further. There’s a definite sense of make-or-break here, the impression of a band with their backs to the wall, faced with two options.
Fight like hell to their last breath, or implode and be instantly forgotten.
Depression, anxiety, addiction, dysfunctional relationships, and loneliness are all energy-sapping problems that weigh down countless people around the world every day. Throw career-related chaos into the mix, and you would hardly blame Deaf Havana for throwing in the towel. There’s only so much a band can take, after all.
Bearing the above in mind, the fact that All These Countless Nights commences with the uplifting likes of Ashes, Ashes, Trigger, and L.O.V.E earned Deaf Havana my instant respect. Make no mistake – these aren’t sugary, happy-clappy campfire songs by any stretch of the imagination. But for all their bittersweetness, All These Countless Nights’ opening trio of tracks prove immediately infectious in the most positive way.
Gradually, Deaf Havana lead listeners into the darkness. L.O.V.E acts as a first serious step in that direction, but Happiness – with straight down the line, warts and all lyrics that tackle alcoholism head-on – makes it clear where we’re headed. Next up, Fever merges Incubus’ ruminative side with a massive, anthemic chorus hook, the whole thing bookended by barely restrained guitar feedback reminiscent of Origin Of Symmetry-era Muse.
From that point, All These Countless Nights reminded me of the elevator in Inception that leads the curious into Dom Cobb’s subconscious. There’s some dark shit down there, the aforementioned list of mental health issues addressed with poetic words set to Deaf Havana’s least constrained tunes to date. One core case in point is England, which comes complete with a tightly funky groove underpinning lines exploring trauma and developmental psychology.
This is not the sound of self-pity, but a mind putting in the time and effort required to get better and make something good out of something bad. And over time, things do get better as St. Paul’s offers up gratitude for new love; Sing fuels personal renewal with high-energy rock that feels even more driven given what came before; and Pensacola, 2013 teeters on a nostalgic tightrope between past, present, and future.
Ultimately, All These Countless Nights’ closer, with its closely controlled dynamics, deep-impact chorus sections, tasteful extended solo, perfectly placed bass, and consistent wash of top-end cymbals leaves a warm, positive aftertaste. Looking back on the album as a whole and running through it a few more times, it quickly becomes clear that Deaf Havana have managed to convert the latest stage in their ongoing saga into an awesome musical journey. Every ounce of respect these guys receive from this point on has been hard-earned, and is richly deserved.
TMMP RATING: 90%
What do you think of All These Countless Nights? Get in touch via Twitter by clicking here, and let me know!