Deaf Havana were once part of a cluster of bands leading the charge of “Brit Rock” onto daytime radio, but they never managed to ride that momentum quite as smoothly as many of their peers. Nevertheless, the Norfolk group are nothing if not persistent, and two years after coming back from the brink of splitting, they’ve returned with album number four, ‘All These Countless Nights’.
’Ashes, Ashes’ picks right up where ‘Old Souls’ left off, albeit bigger, bolder and more sweeping in scale. And proceedings continue to follow the last record’s blueprint. Although that makes for a strangely comforting listen, it’s hard to escape the sense of familiarity on tracks such as ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Happiness’. Still, something about James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals and his soul-searching earnest lyrics makes you forgive them. ‘Fever’ provides a welcome shot of urgency, as driving drums and lightly distorted guitars combine with an energised vocal performance to hark back to the Deaf Havana of old.
The pick of the album’s riff work highlights the peaks and troughs of the stirring ‘England’, with Veck-Gilodi’s vocals really shining on its delicate understated moments, before ‘Seattle’ provides an acoustic moment of vintage DH that simmers with emotion and packs some of the records most evocative lines.
‘Sing’ provides the standout song on offer, and is arguably the band’s best track in quite some time. Layers of vibrant ringing guitar work ebb and flow, as they emphatically nail the crescendo into the chorus that ticks almost every box of “Brit Rock” done right. A simple, memorable and hugely infectious hook, that’s emotive and truly feelgood, it shows just how good Deaf Havana are on their day.
Deaf Havana don’t exactly tear up the playbook on ‘All These Countless Nights’, but it certainly plays to their strengths. Their bluesy, Americana-influenced take on the tried and tested “Brit Rock” sound is as distinctive and well-crafted as ever, and resonates with a heart, soul and integrity that many of Deaf Havana’s more consistently popular peers often lack.
‘All These Countless Nights’ by Deaf Havana is released on 27th January on SO Recordings.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)