Album review

Haven : All For A Reason
Radiate / Virgin Records

Haven : All For A ReasonIf you hear a song and you think you have heard it before, one of three things has happened. Firstly, you have heard it before. Secondly, it is so ridiculously derivative that it might just as well be a cover version. Thirdly, it so well put together that it instantly makes sense and, therefore, sounds familiar. Haven's latest offering All For A Reason falls largely into the third of these categories, with a smattering of the second category laced throughout.

The album's opener Change Direction is reminiscent of numerous teen-angst TV drama theme tunes, though somehow in a good way. This is followed by the highlight of the album, Have No Fear, a wonderfully lilting anthem that makes you wish it was summer all year round.
    Title track All For A Reason, The First Time and new single Wouldn't Change A Thing each show off the strength and quality of lead singer Gary Briggs' voice - at times wonderfully reminiscent of Eric Matthews - with their tuneful melodies and layered guitars accompanying him perfectly.
    What Love Is steps the tempo up a notch, and in turn suffers slightly from not having the warmth of the albums other tunes, something which is also partly the case with Together's Better.
    As the album draws to a close, the cinematic strings-laden drama of Don't Say A Word leads the album towards the thoughtfully powerful climax that is the final track, Getaway.

Having relocated to Manchester from Cornwall where they hail from, Haven's associations with the likes of such musical luminaries as Johnny Marr have resulted in the man himself taking on production duties on All For A Reason, and a fine job he does of it too. Though tight and not over-produced, there is a distinct warmth and character running through All For A Reason that puts it a cut above, and the album works well as a whole rather than just a collection of songs. On this evidence, all signs would seem to suggest that bigger and better things are well on their way for Haven.

:: Philip Goodfellow

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