Over the last few years, rock music seems to have taken a bit of a beating in public opinion, forcing a lot of the more stable names in the genre to adopt a more pop-friendly direction in order to survive. We have seen bands like Paramore and Fall Out Boy drop their previous tenacity in exchange for a lighter and more commercial sound, and that trend now goes for Deaf Havana, who seem keen on reinventing themselves for the daytime Radio 1 audience with their fifth studio album 'Rituals'.
While it is clear from the start that they are onto something completely different, opening up with the very likeable lead single 'Sinner', it seems that the band aren't that comfortable in their new direction. They can certainly pump out the light and fluffy pop-rock just a well as The 1975, but seem lacking in the passion that makes bands like that stand out. Never really breaking any new ground, they seem to have stripped all the originality and creative energy from their sound, leading to a release of middle-of-the-road tracks that only occasionally trigger as something special.
It is understandable why they have had to go this way, but it just feels like they aren't into it at all. Call it songwriting fatigue if you like, but the end result of 'Rituals' seems to be one last effort from a band that just doesn't seem to have a place in today's rock scene anymore, which feels more like a shame than anything else.