Deaf Havana-Fools And Worthless Liars
2011 has been, without any doubt, a rejuvenation of British rock music; radio-ready yet without ever losing a speck of integrity and being executed in an exciting, fresh and, above all, interesting way. With the likes of Lower Than Atlantis, Young Guns and Twin Atlantic moving at a lightning-fast rate in both progress and quality while You Me At Six, Bring Me The Horizon and Enter Shikari are already fast-approaching the phenomenon status, it's a brilliant and important time to be involved with British rock. Deaf Havana can be added to the front leagues of this list with the release of second album, and first without ex-frontman/screamer Ryan Mellor, 'Fools And Worthless Liars' that's every bit as brilliant and individual as the work of the other bands just listed.
The changes that the band have had to grapple with over the past year have been pretty monumental, essentially having to start again in the wake of Mellor's departure with co-vocalist/guitarist James Veck-Gilodi reluctantly having to step up as the band's frontman and lead singer, but the boys have not only nailed their transformation, they've also put out one of the best British albums of 2011. All four members sound absolutely at one in the songs they've created, each adding delicate nuances that can be picked out on repeated listens, while Veck-Gilodi's performance and lyrics are phenomenal, holding nothing back and allowing the album to do the talking.
Acoustic opener 'The Past Six Years' is an unexpected and almost painfully honest start to the album that's all the stronger for it. Veck-Gilodi's confessions of frustration and disappointment that 'Mike's [Duce, Lower Than Atlantis frontman] on daytime radio and John [Taylor, Young Guns guitarist] played Reading and Leeds' while his own band still 'play the Purple Turtle [Camden club] at New Year's Eve' or that he just wishes for his band to be remembered as having 'that song about friends and not much else' are striking in how they don't hold back at all while also accompanying utterly gorgeous melodies and this continues throughout the record. 'Youth In Retrospect' is fan-favourite 'Friends Like These''s modern day answer in its more embittered tales of nostalgia, 'Little White Lies' blends together Veck-Gilodi and guest vocalist Portia Conn's voices beautifully before 'Hunstanton Pier' builds breathtakingly in its pained merging of looking both backwards and forwards in life, the latter two songs featuring incredibly resonant guitar work from Chris Pennells. As the frontman battles through his demons however, final track 'Fifty Four' offers a real sense of hope and optimism in its chorus 'we are young and we are free and my god that's good enough for me' leaving us feeling that we should never allow life to completely beat us down and find happiness in the best aspects of our individual lives instead.
This is an album, much like Lower Than Atlantis' "World Record", that has a universal appeal and feels more rewarding every time you listen to it. This band are going places fast and on the back of this it's something that's very much deserved.