Deaf Havana
Fools And Worthless Liars


4.5
superb

Review

by Mark A. USER (56 Reviews)
February 20th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fools and Worthless Liars finds Deaf Havana reaching for a completely different bag of influences than what is present on any of their previous releases, and it pays off extremely well.

Fools and Worthless Liars finds Deaf Havana reaching for a completely different bag of influences than what is present on any of their previous releases. Originally a post-hardcore outfit closer to the likes of Every Time I Die, the band decided to go in a more melodic direction when they lost main vocalist/screamer Ryan Mellor. Clean vocalist/lead guitarist James Veck-Gilodi took the helm and provided all vocals for this album, but that is not the only differentiating factor of this release. The music that accompanies Veck Gilodi’s ample and catchy vocals are much more geared towards an alt rock style that deviates from the southern-style guitar riffs and frenzied breakdowns of the past. This album is an obvious nod to their less aggressive influences, and even though it is a huge departure from their past releases, it seems that Deaf Havana have found a sound that comes much more naturally to them.

Veck-Gilodi’s vocals are incredibly catchy, with more than enough grit to make up for the glossy production. This album is the band’s strongest to date, as the sound on Fools and Worthless Liars is very authentic; the lyrics directly reference the writer’s life. While that can be incredibly grating on the listener and make bands seem self-important, it actually works in the opposite way here. They provide Deaf Havana with reference points to give their listeners a better understanding of where they come from. From the troubles of touring to the emotional exhaustion of chasing one’s dreams, it simply boosts the ability that one has to relate to them on a realistic level. They are not arena-level rock stars; they are a band that are struggling in their own unique version of a 9-5 job, unable to break out and garner the level of success that many bands only dream of. The irony here is by touching on the ideas of underachieving, they have achieved writing the strongest album to date. The band’s transition to a more pop/alternative rock sound was a very smooth one, and the songwriting is a large part in making that transition seamless. The interesting part is that this album was created by Veck-Gilodi and drummer Tom Ogden, as the other two band members could not write or perform on the album due to work obligations. This effort put Veck-Gilodi in the forefront, both in terms of songwriting as well as coming up with lyrical concepts. This worked out in Deaf Havana’s favor, as the instrumentation is just varied enough to keep the listener’s interest. Surprise-opener “The Past Six Years” is a slow-paced acoustic ditty that chronicles, you guessed it, the past six years of the band. While the song is straight-forward both in vocal delivery and lyrical approach, it is a fitting song to immediately introduce the listener to the new, more melodic Deaf Havana.

With so many bands shrouding their lyrics in near-archaic metaphors or artistic concepts, it is refreshing honesty that we hear throughout the entirety of Fools and Worthless Liars. With the lyrics being somewhat self-revealing, it certainly does manifest itself in the vocals tremendously; it is staggering to hear the difference between the sugar-sweet hook of “I Will Try” against the gruff and almost grunge quality of the vocals of “Anemophobia”. When Veck-Gilodi sings “I haven’t felt so ***king drained”, you hear it in his voice in a way that is shockingly intimate. That same intimate quality seems to pervade the album throughout, which is a surprising and welcome formula considering that overpowering choruses dominate most of the songs on this album. Standout track “I’m a Bore, Mostly” starts out by listing his musical heroes in a very creative way:

“I spent most of my days neither sleeping nor awake
Watching pointless documentaries on tornadoes and earthquakes
Coffee keeps me going though
It fuels my wandering mind
Wishing I was Kurt Cobain or Morrissey
It takes up most of my time
It shows with me losing my voice, it always seems a chore
My faith in music slowly disappearing more and more
These tattoos on my hands are there for life
And the songs inside my head won't come out right”

The lyrics here are wry and self-deprecating, and it is a more than welcome departure from the pretentiousness that many bands have adopted. One of the only small grievances that can be lodged at Fools and Worthless Liars is the pacing of the songs. Many of the songs plod along at a medium pace, making for a more difficult listen front to back. With that being said, many of the songs shine through as being standouts on their own besides the blatantly ripped off riff in “Hunstanton Pier”(from The Honorary Title). “Leeches” also sounds like Deaf Havana has filched a chorus directly from Coheed and Cambria. Other than those two instances, the music is more than adequate and showcases originality in a genre that is not normally conducive to a fresh take. It will be interesting to see how Deaf Havana progress from this album, but Fools and Worthless Liars is their best release to date and shows the potential for them to cross over into more successful territory while not sacrificing their integrity as a band.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
silentstar
February 20th 2013


2281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review! i heard this album last year and it was definitely one of my favourites. you should check out the deluxe version if you haven't yet; they revamped all the songs

thelastsignal
February 20th 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, man! I heard about that, I will definitely check it out. It has me pretty interested in how much the songs were changed.

Digging: Achilles - Hospice

nononsense
February 20th 2013


3430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is awesome.

thelastsignal
February 20th 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad to see more than just me loving this album!

Ecnalzen
February 20th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is great. Still need to check out their previous stuff.

Have you listened to Young Guns and/or We Are The Ocean, Signal?

thelastsignal
February 20th 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love We Are the Ocean, definitely a great band. They pulled a similar stunt like Deaf Havana. I haven't heard Young Guns though.

Ecnalzen
February 21st 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really digging your writing style, this is a good read. Every song on here is likeable, especially Leeches for me.

We Are The Ocean are pretty great too. I have their 2nd and 3rd album, but haven't heard the first.

You might like Young Guns too. They are another British rock band with an awesome sounding vocalist. I found out about all 3 of these bands around the same time. They are all excellent.

thelastsignal
February 21st 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll check out Young Guns; any good songs to start with? Thanks man, I appreciate the compliment. I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to my writing, so any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Ecnalzen
February 21st 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I will throw a few of their songs your way.

Their first album is a little bit darker and heavier than the new one (so of course I like it more, lol). Depending on where you live, it can be kind of hard to get a hold of though. I think it was only released in Europe. Here are two from it, All Our Kings Are Dead:
D.O.A - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT-Ii8shZ_0
Endless Grey - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzdd0Ckbwxs

And Bones takes a more "mainstream rock" approach, which they also do a great job with. Here are a few songs from it:
Brothers In Arms - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTXGHfJU7Fk
Broadfields - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rsffOb6Erw
And if you like those, here is the full stream for Bones:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzWNIv-87zE

Of course, I will take another look when I am off work and see if anything jumps out at me.


thelastsignal
February 21st 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the recs, man. I will check them out once I get off work lol. I'm intrigued about the heavier stuff, as it plays more strongly to my interests.

Ecnalzen
February 21st 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There isn't a huge difference between Young Gun's albums, but you can tell they were trying to be more accessible with Bones and somewhat stripped down their sound. D.O.A is probably their heaviest song from AOKAD (first link). Beneath The Waves is another good, somewhat more aggressive sounding song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-sQlb3Y76c

I never noticed the Coheed-ness on Leeches, but those "Whoa-ohs" are a dead ringer for Claudio.

Ecnalzen
February 21st 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These are nitpicks and were the only things I really saw that could be done differently.

"Many of the songs plod along at the same medium pace, and can make for a more difficult listen."
-I would put "medium pace, which can make for a more difficult listen from beginning to end." (or something to that effect) instead of and, but that is probably just personal preference and would be fine either way.

"It will be interesting to see how Deaf Havana progress from this album, but Fools and Worthless Liars is the band’s best album to date and shows the potential for band to cross over into more successful territory while not sacrificing their integrity as a band."
-This is a personal preference of mine, but I don't like repeating the same word twice in a sentence when I am writing if I don't have to. This has album twice and band 3 times which makes it a little repetitive. This is what I would do (I italicized the modifications):

"It will be interesting to see how Deaf Havana progress from this album, but Fools and Worthless Liars is their best release to date and shows the potential for band to cross over into more successful territory while not sacrificing their integrity as a musicians."

Seriously though, this is a great read. It flows very nicely and you are very detailed and informative (but not overly) with your descriptions. I pos'd... like yesterday or something.

thelastsignal
February 21st 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Ec. I appreciate it, and took your direction on most of your criticisms. Changed the wording a bit on that last sentence, but I would have NEVER saw that repeating issue no matter how many times I read through it. Having someone else point it out was needed lol. Thanks!

Ecnalzen
February 21st 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem. Let me know what you think of Young Guns if/when you get around to listening to them.

thelastsignal
February 21st 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It'll be a little later on tonight, but I will definitely let you know.

thelastsignal
February 21st 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Double post, dammit.

thelastsignal
February 23rd 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Btw, I checked out Young Guns and I really like their sound.

Ecnalzen
February 23rd 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's cool. I thought you might since you like these guys and We Are The Ocean. My favorite part of YG is the vocalist.
He has such a rich tone.

Also, if you are a fan of heavier (as in post hardcorey stuff that are not in your ratings) you could try these out too:

Boysetsfire - The Misery Index and Tomorrow Comes Today
Blindside - Silence and The Great Depression
Fightstar - Grand Unification
Cave In - Perfect Pitch Black
Wolves At The Gate - Captors (mix between post hardcore and metalcore)
Life In Your Way - Kingdoms (similar to ^)


thelastsignal
February 26th 2013


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love fightstar, cave in, and life in your way, although I haven't heard Kingdoms yet. I will check out boysetsfire and wolves at the gate. I always thought that blindside was nu metal, but fuck if I know why I thought that.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2013


20077 Comments


oooh! i didn't see this the other day.

very nice review lastsignal i'll definitely check this out when i have the chance. Pos

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus



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