Sound — 9
Deaf Havana have come a long way since there early days as a post-hardcore band, the change was first obvious in their 2011 release "Fools and Worthless Liars" which bought them into the mainstream and even earned them a place on the radio 1 a-list. However the band were obviously not content with the alt-rock sound they developed and have gone on to release "Old Souls," an album which is heavily influenced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen. The album features on top of the standard band, a string section, horn section and a gospel choir, which work fantastically to fill out the sound and add a new dimension to help them stand out from the crowd.
Lyrics — 10
James Veck-Gilodi is the main lyricist for the band and as he showed on the band's previous effort he has a talent for writing lyrics which will instantly cause feelings of nostalgia. The main topic for the album is about growing up and the people they've known and lost, for examples "Boston Square" covers the loss of James' friend Phil and "King's Road Ghosts" is about the town they grew up in and how it's changed. This album is the first which James' brother Matthew has written for, his song "Mildred" is a stand out track on the album with the dual vocals of the two brothers really adding a lot of power to the song. The final track of the album "Caro Padre" is a departure from the rest of the album being a power ballad which really shows off James' vocal prowess which is backed up by a full gospel choir and really brings the album to a close.
Overall Impression — 9
This is by far Deaf Havana's best work so far and is probably the best album released in 2013 so far. All the tracks stand out for different reasons however the best 3 tracks on the album are "22," "Everybody's Dancing" and "Subterranean Bullshit Blues" with the latter paying homage to Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." There is very little wrong with this album but if I had to pick one thing it out it would be the production as it is very polished and very compressed letting little through in the way of dynamics, although this is a common theme in many modern albums.