After a heartbreak, it's hard to know what direction to go in next. You never quite know what the next step will be, but the best way to start finding that right path is to walk yourself through it. That's what Deaf Havana do in their latest record. Deaf Havana meet heartbreak head on in RITUALS in order to come to terms with the world around them.
RITUALS adds a religious element to Deaf Havana's healing process. Whether it be 'Worship,' where James Veck-Gilodi cries "but everything's a mess when I'm around you / I wish I'd never found you" or in title track 'Ritual' where he's tired of going through the same pain over and over again ("And I never said I'm holding on / So I'm letting you go, 'cause it's better to know / Lately this is nothing more than a ritual between me and you"), each song has some religious connotation to it. In this sense, love really is a sort of religion; many find faith and hope from it, and it's there when you don't quite have the answers for questions you'd rather not face. This purity is the root of Deaf Havana's pain, however, so as hopeful as it may be, all these religious allusions are an attempt to escape from it rather than embrace it.
The album is composed in such a way that you can really feel the sensuality of the music in every moment of the music. Opening track 'Wake' brings the record to a spiritual start, before 'Sinner' brings the record to a blistering start with high energy and warmth, the big and warm track acting like a "look at me now" sort of track. Some tracks are on a high, while others are on a low, like closing track 'Epiphany' where the somber instrumental supports the moody vocals, ending on a reflective note, or the self-depricating 'Saint,' which sees Veck-Gilodi wish he could be like the people around him while still looking up to those around him in support: "I wish I could be a saint like my mother / 'Cause we live the same, we die the same way / I would be proud to call you my brother." The vocoder-heavy 'Evil' really rings with sensuality with each word, while the backing vocals in 'Hell' help add to the dark, brooding atmosphere and make it even more powerful. It's the uplifting, anthemic moments that really stand out, however, with tracks like 'Holy' showing that even the worst pains can have a happy ending.
Deaf Havana meet heartbreak head on in RITUALS, making love their tortured religion as they try to separate from its church. This record oozes with sensuality in all the right ways, so every ounce of joy or pain that comes out of it goes straight to your heart. It's all a way to recover, and should you ever find yourself in a position like they were in when writing this record, it'll always be there to provide you that comfort and reassurance that you're not alone and that you'll get through it.
Favorite Tracks: Holy, Sinner
Least Favorite Track: Heaven
Rating: 75 / 100
Stream or buy RITUALS on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: