An exercise in the experimental, Deaf Havana continue to flex their creative muscles.
There are many reasons that a band may choose to rework an album, it may be to challenge themselves as musicians, to supress a creative itch or it could even be down to a lack of satisfaction. Deaf Havana’s latest release is an experimental affair which sees them shake up the recipes used on All These Countless Nights. I was excited for this release, as I always am for a reworked album, I was keen to see how the band could switch up their sound.
The reworked Ashes, Ashes opens with an eerie atmosphere which showcases the experimental twist that the band have taken and, of course, the vocal capacity of the frontman. The stripped back rendition of this track points you in the direction that this album is taking, and on listening to this track alone it has the feel of a completely unique one. The song is an interesting listen and it encapsulates the purpose of a reworked song – to dabble in the unknown. As with any Deaf Havana release, I must commend the phenomenal vocals of James Veck-Gilodi, not just on this track but throughout the album. He glides effortlessly through an array of vocal stretches on every song, boasting his powerful voice to greet the listener with the sounds that are already synonymous with this band.
Trigger was a huge single upon its first release, the stripped back version is also impressive. The hook of the chorus seems to work just as well over a patiently strummed acoustic guitar as it does when being pumped through its electric counterpart. The boys have managed to intensify the already huge sing-a-long factor with this one, even if you had never heard the song before you would be singing with them by the last chorus. Seattle has also been dressed in a sophisticated, acoustic suit. I enjoy the soft box drumming and accompanying piano, the instruments blend perfectly together to create a well-rounded track. However, I must say that I think I prefer the original version of this one a little more.
L.O.V.E would not be out of place in a late-night bar, where under dim lighting romancing would ensue. There is a certain swank about it. The energy from the original track remains transcribed into this one, the direction may have shifted but this song is still packed with vigour. Like a Ghost has a similar spunk about it, whether it is the electronic pulse they have worked into the song or the loose, yet explosive vocals, it makes me shimmy.
Happiness and Sing both have an aura encompassing them, upon first listen I was struck by the magnitude of these songs. They seem suited for a stadium crowd, hordes of voices shouting back at the band. Having seen Deaf Havana at 2000 Trees this year, I couldn’t help imagine the tent becoming illuminated by voices along to this song. (You can find my review of Deaf Havana at 2000trees review here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2017/07/14/2000-trees-2017-review/).
The vocals of Veck-Gilodi couple perfectly with soft guitar to open the reworked version of St. Pauls. Without a doubt, this is my favourite track from this version of the album. Delicate and warming, the band have honed their craft over the years to be as powerful with their amplified instruments as with their unplugged ones.
Whether Deaf Havana saw this as a creative endeavour or one to tweak their sound, I feel as though it has been a success. It takes a lot of musical maturity to re-work a release and in this instance the fruits of their labour have been ripe. I am shocked by how much I have enjoyed this release and think that I may be a fan of it more so than I was of the original. However, I do feel as though this album is a little thin on the ground and although there are more than a handful of songs that I enjoy, I just struggle to stay fully engaged throughout it.
Personally, I fell in love with Deaf Havana as soon as I first heard their 2011 release Fools and Worthless Liars, I always keep my fingers crossed that they will be able to blow my hair back in a similar fashion to the way they did all those years ago. Is All These Countless Nights of the same calibre? This early on it is hard to say… musically the band have continued to develop, and this album has the potential to grow on me even further but I feel as though their latest releases have not excited me to the same level as previous. Nonetheless, this release will be a great listen to any fans of the band, the reworked tracks cement the fact that they know how to spin a banger.