Deaf Havana

Deaf Havana
‘Fools And Worthless Liars – Deluxe Edition’

I have to admit, when I first heard Deaf Havana‘s material after the departure of unclean vocalist Ryan Mellor, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disheartened. It really lacked the punk bite that their early work was full of. But eventually 2011’s ‘Fools And Worthless Liars‘ began to grow on me, and I’d happily put it up there as one of the most solid rock albums to come from the UK that year.

Via a short documentary put out in summer 2012, the band announced they would be re-releasing the album later this autumn. Rather than just doing some fancier album artwork and a couple of bonus tracks, Deaf Havana went the extra mile and re-recorded the whole thing. Ever the pessimist and never fully content, front man James Veck-Gilodi admitted he didn’t feel the album completely reflected his taste in music where as this re-release does.

All of the songs have been reworked, some slightly, others completely, making the album a totally different listen to the record that appeared first time around. Tracks that were previously acoustic are now performed as a full band and rockier numbers are now toned-down gems. Its beautiful. Lets pick a few stand out tracks to discuss…

Opener ‘The Past Six Years’ feels like its heavily influenced by Irish Rock (think Flogging Molly), and despite being a million miles away from DH records such as ‘It’s Called The Easy Life’ it gets this album off to an optimistic and quite literally stomping start. Piano and vocal track ‘Anemophobia’ is absolutely stunning. Broken down to structurally core elements, James Veck-Gilodi sounds vulnerable and desperate against the lonely notes. Its a heart wrenching performance that could connect with even the emptiest of souls. During ‘Hunstanton Pier’ the guitar tone adds nostalgia and brings the lyrical content to life, but its ‘I’m A Bore Mostly’ that epitomises why this album is a must have.

The recording process of using multiple microphones placed around an old warehouse is slightly bizarre but the effect it has on the track puts it into a different dimension. As the music reverberates through your speakers it feels as if you are there with James as he passionately performs. Even the sound of him slamming the door as he leaves the ‘studio’ is included on the track, a unique element that adds a personal touch to the piece, emphasising the emotion.

Again it has to be said, this isn’t Deaf Havana of old, but thats not a criticism. Its not their early punk/hardcore style, its not their most recent mainstream rock vibe, it’s something else. It is a showcase of the band’s (and in particular their dynamic front man’s) extraordinary talent. It is a touching album which has re-worked a commendable original into something worth treasuring.

Words: Emma Wallace