It’s been four years since Deaf Havana released Old Souls, and fans eagerly awaited the UK based group’s upcoming release, All These Countless Nights to be released January 27th. After dealing with internal conflict, the band took those feelings and turned it into a compelling and expansive album that tells the tale of self-discovery, growing up, and moving on. They took their time making this album, rekindling the passion that had brought them together in the first place, and it shows in these twelve new songs.
The album kicks off with singer James Veck-Gilodi and a bare bones acoustic scene with “Ashes, Ashes.” The song builds into an exploding chorus that I’ve found myself humming plenty of times to myself without even noticing. It’s a brilliant opener for the album; this track is upfront on what to expect from the band – we’ve been through a lot, we’ve seen a lot, and it wasn’t all great.
Fans of the band had their first taste of “Trigger” back in 2014 shortly after the release of Old Souls. With catchy guitar riffs and an easy to belt out chorus – there is no doubt why this song was chosen as the first single. Two of my favorite lines from the entire album are splayed out in this song alone as Veck-Gilodi emotionally cries out “I held the gun but you pulled the trigger and we watched it all go / my heart was fast but your hand was quicker and we watched it all go” and “my timeline is running out fast / my future will never be my past.” While the song sounds somber the message that his future will never be his past is an uplifting hopefulness.
“Happiness” brings us back to a more acoustic side of the album that takes a look at excessive drinking and the strain it has on James and his relationships. “Like A Ghost” I suspect will be another fan-favorite off the album. After a few listens I found myself drawn into the lyrics again and again. The song starts off slowly but quickly builds into an exploding chorus and drawls out with a shredding guitar solo with Veck-Gilodi’s words trailing softly under it. “Lately I’ve been living like a ghost inside my house / everything I touch is just crashin’ down / all the words I try to say get stuck inside my mouth / I can’t find a way to punch them out” he serenades during the second verse.
“England” and “Seattle” pair together on the album quite well, both invoke feelings of a love and hate relationship with home- wherever that may be. “England” shows us that James no longer likes the person he is in England, while “Seattle” is a love song about always finding something to love about a town – but nothing fits quite perfectly.
“St. Pauls” is the ballad of the album. This song pulls at your heartstrings from the first note to the last word. James sings of a girl that came into his life, suddenly pulling his heart in seemingly different directions. It’s an emotional rollercoaster as he screams out “I can’t go back to livin’ in silence / No, I can’t go back to sleepin’ alone.” This song is easy to become attached to as you can almost feel his pain through his words, bringing you back to painful memories of your own.
The album ends with “Pensacola 2013” which could not be a stronger closer to the album if it tried. The song has meaningful lyrics, killer solos, and a beltable chorus, making it one of my favorite tracks overall on the album. Sticking with a common theme of the album, this song is about a relationship that seems to be coming to an end. The song, and album, ends with “and I’m thinkin’ back to that bar in Pensacola / I wonder if my name is still written on the wall.”
All These Countless Nights is a whirlwind of nostalgia, yet optimism in the future. Rather than liquor-soaked self pity of the past, these songs tell the stories of lessons-learned and moving on. It’s said best in “St Pauls” with “I’ve got a past I want to leave behind” which is a keen insight to the overall feel of the album. Deaf Havana’s sound has transformed and matured into a beautifully put together album that is easy to play on repeat. I can only imagine how these songs will transfer to the live stage, and hope to have the opportunity to see that soon!
Stand out songs: Ashes, Ashes – Like A Ghost – St Pauls – Pensacola 2013