PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Haven: All For a Reason

Haven is a band that steadily and skillfully toes the line between pop and rock, and seems to have a deft sense of how to craft melodic, radio-ready songs without pandering or sacrificing artistic value.


Haven

All for a Reason

Label: The First Time
US Release Date: 2007-08-21
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

UK rockers Haven may have received a world of aid from iconic countryman Johnny Marr (Marr gave the group help early in their career, and has produced much of their material), but don't expect the band to produce anywhere near the level of intensity or glorious gloom Marr's former outfit the Smiths were famous for. Instead, Haven is a band that steadily and skillfully toes the line between pop and rock, and seems to have a deft sense of how to craft melodic, radio-ready songs without pandering or sacrificing artistic value.

Marr produced eight of the eleven tracks on the band's sophomore effort, All for a Reason, which, though originally released in the spring of 2004 by EMI, is seeing new light with its 2007 release by Michigan-based The First Time Records. The newest version of the album features a revamped tracklisting, with previous offering "Getaway" trimmed in favor of the tracks "Tell Me" and "No Way to Fade", and the bulk of the tracks which survived the re-issue have been reordered. The result is a tight, well-sequenced record with the appeal to attract new listeners.

The band's sound is a combination of the new and the relatively new. The influence of British artists who peaked in the '90s is evident (Oasis, The Verve), while the group's melodic, guitar-driven brand of rock should appeal to fans of currently reigning pop stars like Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Aqualung. Throughout the course of the album, Haven's strengths are quite clear. Frontman Gary Briggs is a confident and charismatic presence, and does a quality job of guiding the listener through the album, and the interplay between Briggs and Nat Watson's guitars alternately add heft and sensitivity to the well-written songs (credited, with an exception or two, to the entire band), marked by engaging verses, huge, hooky choruses, and dynamic range. Marr (and Dave Eringa, who produces the album's other three tracks) frames the band's material well and enables Haven to play to these strengths.

The album's early tracks establish an overall tone which is reinforced throughout All for a Reason. Opening with the title cut, Haven quickly floods the listener with melodic guitar passages and a strong vocal performance from Briggs, all set to the shuffling rhythms marked out by drummer Jack Mitchell and bassist Iwan Gronow. The track's successor, "Have No Fear", is one of the album's strongest moments and is a real treat for those who appreciate the bands who guided the trajectory of British pop/rock over the past two decades or so. With a beautiful tune, complimentary background vocals, and a gentle momentum, the cut shines.

Also of note are such standout tracks as the countrified "Change Direction", the shimmering guitar pop of "Wouldn't Change a Thing", and "Tell Me", which evokes the mid-'90s alternative rock sounds of bands like Dishwalla and Goo Goo Dolls.

All for a Reason is one of those rare albums that doesn't really contain a bad track (the first minute or so of closing cut "Don't Say a Word" seems like it might contradict this notion, but by the time the song's hook is established, it proves worthy of inclusion). Granted, there is not a whole lot of innovation or daring here; the album is fairly conventional in its pop/rock sound. However, what the members of Haven do, they do well, and there is something extremely rich and welcoming about the album they have delivered.

Hopefully, this project will not be passed over or get lost in the shuffle just because it's being re-released. Those hearing All for a Reason for the first time should appreciate the skill with which the project was put together. Listeners being reminded of their first experience with the album may well find that the material has stood up over the past couple of years and grows with each successive listen.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.