Belle Haven – Time Changes Nothing
Released: April 16, 2021
David De La Hoz | Vocals
Tom Mitchell | Bass
Daniel Marinakis | Guitar
Christopher Vernon | Guitar & Vocals
If you had a rough time during 2020 then you’re going to need a box of tissues for this listen. Belle Haven are back and they’re here to make you weep with Time Changes Nothing; an EP that beautifully explores grief, regret and frustration in its purest most painful forms and yet still manages to get stuck in your head and make you dance a little.
The opening track ‘Take Your Pill’ starts the record on a very theatrical foot. The guitar tones are somewhat reminiscent of their previous couple of singles which is a nice thread to reassure existing fans and also feel very quintessential Belle Haven at this point. That’s not to say they don’t do anything new; ‘Take Your Pill’ works as the perfect introduction to a couple of new standards when it comes to vocals. Somehow lead singer David De La Hoz has set the bar even higher for every vocalist ever with an almost perfected tone reminiscent of classic emo bands with the control of a theatre singer. Secondly, good news for Better Half fans like myself vocalist/guitarist Christopher Vernon is heavily featured through the whole EP. This particular song being a phenomenal example as their voices are perfectly interwoven into a tapestry that feels like a musical panic attack only furthered by the syncopated beats and guitar ring that sits in the track.
Now in contrast to that ‘Mistakes’ is laced with both love and regret in an incredibly self-reflective and gorgeously melodic piece. While a lot of the bands tracks tend to be a bit harsher both lyrically and sonically, ‘Mistakes’ through its atmospheric mix and a noticeably great drum line provides a soft, ambient and honestly at moments danceable experience which feels like somewhat new territory making for a very fun yet devastating listen… an odd combination but it works quite well, definitely looking forward to seeing a crowd response to this one.
In the dead centre we have the first single ‘Nobody Likes A Hospital’. This song is so sarcastic and angry and defeated and… it does a lot. It makes a lot of sense that this was the first single; it captures the newer direction really well while still feeling very them. I had the pleasure of seeing this live at their most recent tour and despite being the newest track everyone knew every word so I’d say this is a new fan favourite. It does a lot of what ‘Take Your Pill’ was doing but I’d argue it’s pulled off a little better here. The mix feels very cohesive and the chorus has a glorious ability of getting stuck in your head. If you want to get a friend into Belle Haven I’d say this would be the song to start on.
I could probably write a two page essay on why ‘Hopeless. Empty. Lonely. Painful’ is a perfect song and achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve but for the sake of not boring anyone I’ll be brief. This song will conjure knots in your stomach as it hits you with the kind of brutally honest defeat you can’t fake. Rightfully this track is stripped back pretty severely at times to let De La Hoz’s vocals carry the track in the best performance of his career so far. This is another one I really look forward to seeing live. The almost uplifting chant of “I don’t want to feel like this anymore” in the bridge is made for a big venue of tearful fans and swaying flashlights followed by the most poetic breakdown again both sonically and lyrically.
The record abruptly hits you with ‘Stranger Memories’ as its big finish. This track sounds the most reminiscent of the rest of their discography. It’s definitely the angriest song on the EP which makes it an interesting note to end on. It’s so much darker than anything else and that’s exacerbated by following up ‘Hopeless’. Although I initially felt this was the weakest of the five, it’s grown on me for sure. This track definitely has the most fun with its instrumental performances with some very rhythmic guitar sections and an indulgent breakdown that reminds you that these guys are fundamentally heavy and all very talented at their instruments. The back and forth between both screams is also a particularly satisfying and almost textured experience; a great final bow for the record.
Overall Time Changes Nothing is an emotional experience that showcases Belle Haven’s talents with finesse and maturity while simultaneously making it clear exactly why these guys have such a dedicated fanbase. I look forward to seeing these performed live in the near future!
Belle Haven – Time Changes Nothing EP tracklisting
1. Take Your Pill
3. Nobody Likes A Hospital
4. Hopeless. Empty. Lonely. Painful.
5. Stranger Memories