With the deadline looming and the window destined to slam shut, which albums are desperately calling their agent looking for a move to Marseille and which are sitting in a comfy chair supping on the proceeds from their loyalty bonus? In quite a weak week, we are going to do it in a good news/bad news format for a change...
Let's start with the bad news. One of the week's bigger name releases comes in the form of A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat, the tenth studio album from Californian band Train. The only interaction I can recall having with Train is a passing interest in their 2001 song Drops Of Jupiter. In rail terms, one might class that as the short hop down the coast from Rhyl to Prestatyn. Their new album should have felt like the pleasurable jaunt from Manchester to Birmingham. In reality, it felt like I was taking a sleeper carriage from London to Edinburgh in Victorian England.
With perky lowest common denominator melodies not far up the evolutionary chain from lift music and lyrics that feel as if they are written at a child's songwriting summer camp, it is a little depressing to think that this is what nearly 25 years experience in the music industry gets you. I genuinely think that there are 90s boy bands that would feel embarrassed singing 'Play that song//The one that makes me go all night long' or 'Every time you're here with me//It's like I won the lottery'. I sincerely hope this is the last dalliance I have with this mediocre collective. Next time, I'll wait for the rail replacement bus.
Luckily, we are also going to take a look at All These Countless Nights by Norfolk band Deaf Havana. This is the band's fourth studio album and their first since 2013's Old Souls which reached number 9 in the UK album chart.
There are two ways that you can take All These Countless Nights and it is a decision not dissimilar to that of Neo in The Matrix. Take the blue pill, forget the lyrics and what you have is a really solid rock album. The songs bristle with energy – Fever in particular is just superb. They feel grand and imposing without at any stage coming across as out of control or chaotic. Singer James Veck-Gilodi has a voice that drifts effortlessly from raspy to melodic and there are some very effective solos, especially on L.O.V.E.
Take the red pill and this album becomes something else entirely. The lyrics are laced with a dark honesty – the kind of honesty that normally accompanies a person who doesn't have much left to lose. There is a lot of discussion around the subject of alcohol abuse and the destructive power that has over a person's life. It is a work of loneliness and ostracism, of unhappy relationships and wasted chances. The impact of the words tails off as the album draws to a close but, on the whole, it is a confessional work that feels cautionary rather than self-indulgent. Whichever pill you choose, Deaf Havana are definitely a band showing a great deal of promise.
Confessions fall from Deaf mouths
Hope you miss the Train
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