- The Traveling Salesmen
- Chasing the Sun
- Free (Like Wild Horses)
- Hawaii 5-0
- Going Nowhere
- My Recession
Safe Haven, the California pop-punk rock band formed in 2003, is back with their newest release, Chasing the Sun. This album blends punk sounds with alternative and indie styles that fans of a wide variety of genres will enjoy. Each song includes relatable lyrics and rhythms that are sure to get you nodding your head with the beat. The members of the band are brothers Gil Sandoval (Vocals/Bass), Dan Sandoval (Drums), and Mani Sandoval (Lead Guitar), and their childhood friend Josh Ledezma (Guitar).
First up is “The Traveling Salesmen” which has lyrics about forgiveness. The sound reminds me a lot of “It’s Not Over” by Grand Prize (now Esterlyn). Next, “Easy” is a fast song that has a great chorus. It is easy to imagine this song being performed live with fans rocking out and shouting the lyrics. “Home” and “Chasing the Sun” both feature awesome guitar melodies. The latter, the title track, seems to talk about a relationship that didn’t go as planned. The fairly gloomy lyrics remind me of Yellowcard’s writing style. “Go!” is super upbeat and is about being bold in life and working hard toward your goals.
“Free (Like Wild Horses)” is an interesting song about the facades that people put up to pretend to be strong like wild horses. “Blind” encourages being different and not following the wrong ways of the world. I love the layered sound of the lead and rhythm guitar in the beginning of the song. Up next is “Hawaii 5-0,” which is a usual punk style song with beach themes and lyrics of loneliness. “Going Nowhere” is a fun song in 2/4 time which makes it perfect for dancing and rocking out. It’s another concert-perfect song with great vocals. “My Recession” is a slow acoustic song which is a contrast from the rest of the album. The vocals on this song are mainly falsetto which does not suit the singer well. This is also the only song with clear Biblical references. The chorus is based loosely on Psalm 121: “I see the mountain / Where does my help come from? / My heart is full but my gas tank is empty.” The final song, “Gone,” is less punk and more indie/alternative sounding, which is great. It even includes an awesome guitar solo.
Overall: Safe Haven has a lot of potential in the Christian rock music scene. I like all of the different styles they use from song to song—it keeps the album interesting. After being a rather unknown band since 2003, I think this album is just what they needed to become well-recognized. I really like the instrumentation and the vocals on most of the songs, with the exception of the falsetto on “My Recession.” A lot of Safe Haven’s sound reminds me of Reeve Oliver, mixed with the pop-punk classics like MxPx and Slick Shoes. This is an album worth checking out even if you’ve never really enjoyed pop-punk before.