Deaf Havana's new album 'Fools And Worthless Liars' might be a jumble of contradictions – a record written by a self-confessed borderline recluse that's written to be played to crowds of thousands, a collection of songs about young confusion that sound world-weary and assured – but the one thing it is above all is brutally, beautifully honest. And that's why it's so valuable.
Their past has been characterised by a series of were-youthere? Their sets at Slam Dunk and Sonisphere last year that were so busy you couldn't get near the stage? Or Download 2011, when they played a heroic show for a rammed tent? – but Deaf Havana's future was built in a week. Frontman James Veck-Gilodi had been struggling for months but, during a short break at his parents' house, melodies and lyrics came tumbling out and he composed 10 demos in one hyper-productive sevenday stint.
"I had writer's block for ages – I wrote two songs in a year and thought I wasn't going to be able to write the album," he explains. "It was a massive relief when they started to come. I felt quite trapped in London, so when I went to the country it all came out." Hence why 'Fools And Worthless Liars', produced by Matt O'Grady (You Me At Six), has such size, scope and breadth to it – the band were formed almost six years ago as a five-piece in Norfolk but it's taken this long for them to find their voice.
Having recorded and released an EP ('It's Called The Easy Life') and album ('Meet Me Halfway, At Least') the band amicably parted ways with vocalist Ryan Mellor, leaving Veck- Gilodi, bassist Lee Wilson, guitarist Chris Pennells and drummer Tom Ogden to regroup. What came next would take them all by surprise – they ticked off festival performances, BBC Maida Vale sessions and sell-out tours while reworking their old material and starting to showcase new songs as 'Fools And Worthless Liars' took shape. But it took Veck-Gilodi sitting down in a room on his own and stripping everything away before they could blossom into what they are today – one of the UK's brightest hopes.
Take one listen to the disarmingly confessional opening track 'The Past Six Years', the glorious 'Hunstanton Pier' or the pounding, pulsing 'Youth In Retrospect' and it's clear he's one of the most unique lyricists in rock today. "The simplicity of the lyrics is because these are the first lyrics I've ever written, and that's all I can do," he says. "I didn't force it. No bullshit, no metaphors; just honesty." The album, released in November 2011 rocketed straight to #1 in the official UK rock chart and hit the midweek at a mindblowing #22. The success of the album in its first week led to debut single I'm A Bore, Mostly being playlisted on BBC Radio 1 and then onto iTunes single of the week where over 67,000 people downloaded it in just 5 days.
Second single Leeches went to the BBC R1 B-list and was joined by third single Little White Lies, as well as a performance as Huw’s House Band, live on Radio 1 daytime and now Hunstanton Pier making it four Radio 1 playlist singles on this campaign alone. In April Deaf Havana embarked on a headline tour, which after just four weeks on sale, SOLD OUT every single show. The amazing speed of sale meant the band were quickly able to put on sale an astonishing run of dates including a SOLD OUT London Shepherds Bush Empire in November, coupled with a guest performance from the London Youth Gospel Choir, a truly landmark performance that cemented Deaf Havana’s place as one of the most exciting prospects in UK rock.
August saw the band open the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festival to the biggest opening crowd in the 30 year history of Reading Festival. In October the band re-released Fools and Worthless Liars with a complete alternative version of the album showcasing their versatility and craftsmanship as musicians.
The re-release mid-weeked at number 20 and opened the band up to an entirely new demographic placing them in a fantastic position to platform their careers further into 2013. With touring in Australia, U.S.A, and Japan all scheduled for 2013, as well as a much anticipated new album. Deaf Havana seem to be one of the sure fire success stories in UK rock next year, something that most would agree, is truly deserved.