Deaf Havana have always been, for me, one of those bands that accompanied my teenage British countryside years. What I mean by that is that their music has seemed to relate to me, one way or another, because the tone often seemed to strike a note with me. As if their music had that naked stripped back countryside living feel to it. So it is always great to see that kind of music and tone being spread around and getting better wider popularity. Deaf Havana have certainly been one of those bands that since Meet Me Halfway, At Least (2009) have progressed substantially in style and in their fan base; the one thing that always remains is a consistency in lyrical tone.
This is something that All These Countless Nights reinforces perhaps more than ever before. It is almost a raw passionately penned love letter to nostalgia and a proud declaration of confidence in their own ability and style. Songs like Ashes, Ashes and Like A Ghost might even feel at home on a previous album like Fools and Worthless Liars. They are similar in tone but also, especially in the case of Like A Ghost, show a good effort to mix things up a little and experiment in style and atmosphere.
There are some songs that I feel a little conflicted on, for example: Fever and Trigger. Not to say they are ‘bad’ songs, they’re not, they are good and I enjoy listening to them. The only element to them that I cannot quite work out how I feel about them is that, in some ways, they feel a little too formulaic. As if these songs are designed to be singles, and/or to be danced to, which again isn’t a terrible thing and lends to a more mainstream audience and a possibly easier marketing. Yet there are moments that feel as if they are a little too constructed, as if the special nature of them is a little let down by the need to appeal to a larger audience. 2 songs, at least, that I feel I need to listen to quite a few more times anyway to properly decide on.
Songs I don’t need to even hesitate on however are England, Sing and Pensacola, 2013. These are special songs. They are addictive and successfully experimental. Sing is a single, it would always be a single, it has the elements and the perfect potential, but what changes it from being too ‘formulaic’ is that it feels far more natural. The song, and the lyrics connect tonally so well that you are lost in the song without paying too much attention to what makes it more accessible in the eyes of a broader audience. England and Pensacola, 2013 are songs that surprised me. They fed well into the timeline of the album, they exploited the tone of the previous songs and hollered at every possible aural sense the body holds. When that funky electric guitar begins at the start of England, before being joined by James’ ever well used raspy voice and then eventually the drums and so on, it is like a rocky orchestra is being created. Your body joins in and any rock fan would be happy at home air drumming to this jam. The tempo and tone smoothly moves around and gives opportunity to fully show the potential of each member of the band and each instruments sound. Pensacola, 2013 could not be a more perfect song out of the 12 on All These Countless Nights to end on. It is a gorgeous, mysterious tune that with a continuous itching enigmatic feeling in the back, draws our mind to the overall tone of the full album. As the song comes to an end the last lyrics we hear of the album are “I wonder if my name is still written on the wall”. Simplistic. Effective. Memorable.
These lyrics could almost work well as a slogan, a log line for this album. “All These Countless Nights: I wonder if my name is still written on the wall”. It is a good, consistent and at times tenderly special album that keeps Deaf Havana’s familiar tone beautifully undying. It is an album that will relate to any 20 somethings and over that are still not sure of the world, that still miss those days on the beach as a confused teen, that still wis, at the end of it all, that they will be remembered.