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The Haven Green — Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt
(Mega Dodo B1014, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-02-27

Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt Cover art

For his second outing as The Haven Green, Steve Somerset turns in another fine set of catchy and unpretentious psychedelic rock tunes that would have been right at home in 1968. The main clue to the more recent vintage is the clarity of the production. The basic instrumentation involves bass and drums with a variety of guitars, both acoustic and electric; Mellotron and other chronologically appropriate embellishments spice up the sound. Judicious use of reversed instruments, phase shifting, and percussion further cement the psychedelic era. The opening track, “Only a Matter of Time,” features a bit of narration that calls to mind the heyday of The Moody Blues, say On the Threshold of a Dream, especially given the presence of a Mellotron in the mix. Thoughts of The Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow also come to mind at times. “The Stars Shine of Their Own Accord” adds a sitar for additional color, contrasting with a twangy surf guitar and another that’s more fuzzed out. In some ways, the music makes me think of an alternate universe Moody Blues who followed up Days of Future Passed with an album of similar style without the orchestra, keeping the groovy mod vibe instead of getting more serious and introspective. I suppose that makes this a different version of In Search of the Lost Chord, and I can live with that comparison. At least there’s nothing as silly as “Dr. Livingstone, I Presume.” Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt doesn’t come off as a mere pastiche of a long-defunct style — these are good songs in any era, and could legitimately have been arranged differently and also sounded good, but I think it’s more fun this way. The Haven Green is certainly worthy of joining the ranks of the best modern psychedelic artists.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Somerset / The Haven Green

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