Album Review :
Safe Haven - In The Middle Of Destruction

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Band: Safe Haven

Title: In The Middle Of Destruction

Label: Live Love Records

Release Date: October 24, 2009

Review By: Scott L

Tracklisting:

  1. Everybody
  2. Back Down
  3. Let Go
  4. I Walked Alone
  5. Wake Up
  6. All That I’ve Got
  7. Time To Live Again
  8. Another Tide
  9. Reckless
  10. Right Beside You
  11. Where Do I Belong
  12. A Little More

I thought that these guys would be harder. More punk oriented. When you’ve got a guy gracing the album cover with a blood-red mohawk, it just says, “old school punk”. Or at least that’s what I thought it said. In actuality, Safe Haven is a 4-piece out on sunny Chandler, Arizona that’s pretty much anything but old school punk. Gone is the pop-punk sound of their debut release and in it’s place is a far more subdued and radio-friendly rock. Maybe not quite CCM rock… but pretty close. There’s still a touch of the punk influence here and there, and while there are some definite flashes of what could be, this ballad-heavy release builds and builds but just never seems to peak. You can feel that they could break it loose and make something happen, but they just don’t.

If you liked their first CD “Setting Up & Tearing Down”, than you should probably like this one as well. While different stylistically, they’re on pretty equal footing as far as overall comparisons go. Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more musical maturity this time out rather than just a quasi-genre shift, but the song-writing still strikes me as a bit amateurish. That may work for the pop-punk crowd, but in more discriminating circles it stands out. Not that many of the songs aren’t enjoyable… they are, it’s just that many of them also feel more like roughed out ideas than finished products.

Lyrically, Safe Haven pretty much holds the party line. They’re upfront with their faith in a subtle sorta way. If that makes sense. God plays a role in many of their songs but is typically portrayed as the ambiguous ‘you’. For the most part the lyrics were well-crafted and often contained some very cool lines like “collect the pennies just to pay the rent” or “what you learn to lose, you learn to love again”.

The standout track was “Wake Up” which is a simple song with a simple message to come to your senses and press on in life. Kind of a ode to the prodigal son in a way. At least that’s the way I took it. “Reckless” was undoubtedly my least favorite. I had to remember to turn it down so that the neighbor’s dog wouldn’t howl. Okay, so it wasn’t that bad… but it was definitely down on my enjoy-o-meter.

Production is very good. Packaging is also very good. The presentation is well conceived and professionally presented. Having lots of band photos is always a nice touch so you can kinda get an impression of the guys behind the music.

Overall: Safe Haven is no doubt a talented group of guys. And “In The Middle Of Destruction” is a decent enough album. But given that two years elapsed between their freshman and sophomore releases, I can’t help but feel that they should have brought more to the table the second time out than just a lateral move to a different style. It’s still worth checking out, but keep your expectations in check. Kudos, however, that a portion of the proceeds ($5.00, I think) from every CD sold goes to charity.

www.myspace.com/safehaven

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