Deaf Havana

Fools And Worthless Liars

Written by: AP on 30/11/2011 21:12:23

Deaf Havana is a name that has been on everyone's lips this past year. Having split with screaming vocalist Ryan Mellor and subsequently moved from post-hardcore into a modern alternative rock oriented sound, the band has been garnering rave reviews for their impassioned live shows and slowly prescribed near-astronomical expectations for their sophomore album, "Fools and Worthless Liars".

For Deaf Havana, this is not just an album; it signifies their rebirth and coming to terms with past demons. It takes some courage to shoot off any album with an acoustic piece, but here it is difficult to imagine any other way. With the soft spoken, cathartic lines "these days my friends aren't who they used to be / we were all sinners and drunks, but now they're too mature for me / 'cause Mike's on daytime radio, John played the Reading and Leeds / and I'm still playing the Purple Turtle at New Year's Eve" and "through these cynical old bitter eyes, the future's hard to see / and these songs still don't mean half as much as they should do to me / 'cause I'd made plans of being more than just that band who had that song about friends and not much else", James Veck-Gilodi gives himself and his band a clean slate and a shot at writing mature rock music for a much larger audience than was possible with that eponymous song about friends, "Friends Like These", from "Meet Me Halfway, at Least".

So if you were expecting a continuation of the scream/singing dynamics and post-hardcore aesthetic, "Fools and Worthless Liars" is not the album you wanted to hear. In virtually every respect the band shows development on a scale few could have imagined after the shoddy debut album. Veck-Gilodi's singing is sublime, quivering with emotion, resounding with passion, and taking a deserved leading role in directing songs like "Youth in Retrospect" and "Little White Lies" to sure shot mainstream success; the instrumentation is nuanced, ebbing and flowing from stadium-shriveling riffs to emotive refrains in carefully designed structures where no single moment is allowed to sound anonymous. These are rock songs of the kind that will undoubtedly re-earn Veck-Gilodi respect from Jon and Mike; and his ambitions and anxieties in that regard are made abundantly clear with allusions to Kurt Cobain in "I'm a Bore, Mostly", and optimistic song titles à la "The World or Nothing".

On such songs Deaf Havana succeed in turning memorable moments into full-fledged anthems without so much as a trace of a forgettable part. Of course most of the honor in that respect must go to Veck-Gilodi's phenomenal voice and impeccable ear for turning even a verse into an infectious hook. Imagine, then, what the choruses must sound like. And yet, the most endearing quality about "Fools and Worthless Liars" is not the strength of the standout songs, nor that it has absolutely no trouble staying consistent and sufficiently varied. It is the complete honesty and lucidity with which it has been written. Nothing sounds forced, and there are no metaphors to be dissected in the lyrics; just pure and simple honesty. Ironically, this is what sets Deaf Havana apart as one of the most unique bands in contemporary British rock.

The resounding success of "Fools and Worthless Liars" all but eclipses the band's not-so-revered past. It is in a sense the band's second debut album, and a hell of a showcase at that. Parting with Mellor was, it seems, the best thing that could have happened to Deaf Havana who, judging from the lyrical content of this album, were in a state of stagnation with little hope of succeeding as a band before it happened. With thirteen unparalleled songs in the bag, Deaf Havana can certainly look forward to becoming more than just that band who had that song about friends and not much else. They've seized the chance to prove their worth with both hands and unleashed one of the best rock albums this year.


Download: The Past Six Years; Little White Lies; I'm a Bore, Mostly; Things Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn't Stop for Anybody; Leeches; The World or Nothing
For the fans of: Francesqa, We Are the Ocean, Yashin, Young Guns
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.11.2011
Easy Life Recordings / BMG

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