In the Middle of Destruction

Safe Haven is a four-piece band out of Chandler, Arizona. I had never heard of this band, so I had assumed this was their debut album. Apparently this is whyone shouldn’t assume things because it turns out I was wrong and they had released their debut album, Setting Up and Tearing Down, back in 2007. Now the guys give us their September 2009 release, In the Middle of Destruction.

Safe Haven’s style is along the lines of pop rock or straight-up radio rock, with a bit of pop punk thrown in. The band makes it really easy to just kick back and enjoy their tunes. They have a tight sound and a clear catchy radio-rock sound, mixed in with some anthemic vocals, which makes the songs really accessible. I was impressed with how good the production was on this album; everything sounded great. Unfortunately, my interest didn’t last much past this point.

There are a lot of hints of what could be with this band musically. A lot of the songs start building up and climbing higher just to fall flat. Iwasexpecting through some ofthe songs for them to just break off andmake something crazy happen. However, I just felt they played it safe and stayed too close to that radio-rock formula. There’s nothing wrong with a few songs following this style, but it’s just too much of the same old routine” when the majority of the album goes down that road. Too many times while I was listening to this album I felt like I was listening to the same song over and over. A lot of them had sounds that were too similar to one another;they just didn’t really allow the songs to become their own.

The lyrics were sub-par in my book. They are upfront about their faith to a certain degree but they just present all of it in a very subtle way. This isn’t necessarily anything bad becauseone can tell where their hearts lie and can see some content there without them shoving it down people’s throats. I just think they could work on the song writing a little more and fine tune it. They have some fun and clever lines but some listeners may be hoping for a little more substance. That at least was the case for me; I wanted something a little more to sink my teeth into. Kudos to the band though forkeeping the lyrics simple yet something enjoyablefor the listener.

My favorite message that the band presents would have to be in their song “Wake Up.” Nothing fancy happens in this song and it just sticks to that radio-ballad style but they have a really simple relatable message. Their message is just aboutbasically realizing the need to “wake up” to everything that’s going on around you and continue pushing onward in life.

You can definitely see the talent here and a great group of guys who are passionateabout their music. Maybe I was just disappointed with the style they chose and would rather have a bit of a harder sound from them. I don’t know–it just seems with a lot of these tracks there would be some added depth if they added that extra muscle in. That also would have helped give the album a variety of different sounds. The album was so ballad-heavy or filled with subdued tracks that there needed to be some different tempo changes in there somewhere. I had checked out some of the tracks from their debut Setting Up and Tearing Down where they had more of an influence of punk rock. This sound just seemed a lot more at home for them. It was heavier and brought a lot of life to the tracks. I think it would have been neat to see them expand upon that sound in their second album.

Overall Igive this albumtwo and a half stars. There is a lot of talent and potential here but in the case of this release I was let down. Too many songs sounded the same and the sound is just too radio friendly for me but this is a fun release to just kick back and chill to. If this type of sound is up your alley don’t hesitate to check this out; just don’t expect to be blown away. I’m hoping in the future that these guys break past the radio-rock sound and take things a step further. Even just what I heard from their debut and a few songs on this album shows they have it in them. That would allow Safe Haven to get out of the sea of other sound-alike bands that this release throws them into and help them to stand out from the crowd.

Guest Writer