Analogue Music | Deaf Havana - Rituals


Artist: Deaf Havana · Written by Anna Compton

Date Released

10 August, 2018


So Recordings


44 minutes

Vibrant, full of angst and deeply religious, the new Deaf Havana album Rituals will leave listeners singing catchy refrains and pondering deep themes.

While anyone turning to this album expecting a classic Deaf Havana sound will be disappointed, the album stands alone as a piece of art worthy of attention. If All These Countless Nights captured a moody post-breakup sentiment, Rituals picks up in the “hook up and make a regrettable choice” stage.

The song Wake opens as an instrumental that drops into their first track "Sinner" beautifully. "Sinner" sets up the album’s tone: “You can fall to your knees and pray / cause I'm a sinner now and I won't be saved,” and, “there's all the hours I wasted trying hard to fool you / well they were never enough, never enough to hide all the pain I put you through.”

Written before the lyrics, each song title mirrors the song opposite it on the album to create a pattern:

1) Wake - 13) Epiphany
2) Sinner - 12) Saint
3) Ritual - 11) Worship
4) Hell - 10) Heaven
5) Holy - 9) Evil|
6) Savior - 8) Pure
7) Fear

The tracks meet in the middle at "Fear" as the perfect crossroads for each song title. This pivotal song title ties all the other tracks together, voicing the frustration and confusion of being caught somewhere between being a sinner or a saint, heaven or hell, holiness and evil: “And there's always a moment I know I'm alone / Lose control and a hold of myself / I'm a wreck when I'm here, all my fears reappear / And it's clear that I'm really not well.”

I can imagine Veck-Gilodi and Phil Gornell making the creative decision to build this dichotomy of titles before the lyrics, instilling the significance of each name and the entire ideological framework the album represents.

Rituals opens with the lyrics, “I'm so pathetic for ever thinking I'd change/ When there are pieces of my past that I conveniently erased,” and closes with the wrenching lyrics, “All I want is to begin again / Now I'm up here on this ledge / I know at times you wanted to kill me / Let me save you the trouble, you feel me," and the album offers a new depth to their lyrics aided by the raw nature of their album structure.

The album was created when singer James Veck-Gilodi and Co-Producer Phil Gornell decided to revamp their song-writing process and go back to writing for what they love. Their decision resulted in an album that may be too pop and produced for some fans, as it includes a notable shift away from brooding lyrics into a sound that feels far more genuine and worth a listen.

Self-loathing, apathy, religion, redemption. Indie pop-rock. It is easy to let the lyrics be a beat to simply sing with the windows down, but letting the lyrics resonate with their truth and challenging perspective on self-examination and relationships, leaves an impact on the listener.

In a world of increasing mental illness, depression, suicide, and unstable self-image, Rituals offers an outlet for those hurting and the hope that people do not suffer alone. Overall, this album is perfectly timed and targets a relevant culture of limelight and angst.