# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Haven - Between The Senses

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 11 / 2 / 2002

Haven - Between The Senses
Label: Radiate
Format: CD


"Lovely" Johnny Marr produced first album from Cornish group who" pen tunes that have mass appeal and are refreshingly free of cliché."

About a year ago, yet another group appeared on the music scene that sounded like Doves, Coldplay, Embrace, Travis and the Verve. Haven were competing for attention with other similar styled groups such as Starsailor and Elbow, but while they never quite got the press attention of those other bands they still received , as a result of their patronage by former Smiths manager Joe Moss, plenty of interest. After forming in Cornwall the band were spotted by Moss, who invited them back to Manchester with him. Two singles later and this album has emerged, produced by Johnny Marr of Smiths fame. You may well recognise 'Say Something', a glorious song that received some daytime radio airplay in the UK. For anyone who was hoping to write Haven off as another soundalike band cashing in on Coldplay’s success the release of such a fantastic single was a sign that they would be around for quite a while. This album serves as further confirmation. Haven’s sound does not take music to brave new places, nor does it showcase an exceptional ability to play guitar. They do, however, deal in songwriting that conveys warmth and beauty. Frontman Gary Briggs is the obvious talent here. He not only is a good songwriter with the ability to pen tunes that have mass appeal and are refreshingly free of cliché, but he is also a fantastic singer. He does not try to win poetry competitions but still manages to write interesting and vivid lyrics . A prominent example of his ability to sum up life in simple lines comes on 'Say Something' when he says “believe me now, I’d only lie to you”. His vocals are subtly magnificent and are at times similar to Fran Healy, which is no bad thing. Their Cornish upbringing and obvious enthusiasm for life sets them apart from their local peers Elbow and makes Travis an obvious comparison. Their songs are, however, better developed than Travis’s and draw on a wider range of influences from musical history. That is not surprising when you consider that the band first met in a record shop, fighting over some obscure classic. Johnny Marr’s production is naturally first rate setting the instruments apart from each other with style and creating a full sound that is never overbearing. The music is quite heavy at times, especially on theformer single 'Let It Live' (which could be Gary Briggs' motto for life) but it is never too powerful and never loses the tenderness that makes Haven’s music stand out. This is exactly the sort of Marr achieved on the Smiths' best work as well, but what do you expect from a genius? The best tracks on the album are 'Say Something', a truly classic song which has become long ingrained on my memory and 'Is This Bliss?', a gentle acoustic six minute track. that, whilst less immediate, is no less touching. The album’s greatest achievement is, however, in building a cohesive atmosphere and in featuring consistently good songwriting. Often debut albums sound like a collection of all the band's primary influences, and sometimes that doesn’t gel as well as it could, but Haven have made a varied collection work well as an album by concentrating on giving each track a similar tone, while also managing to vary it stylistically. .They may not be the most inventive or exciting band around but, when they produce music that is so enjoyable, who really cares? A lovely album, first time around ! Haven are a group who have the ambition and ability to sell millions of records, and I for one hope they do.

Track Listing:-
1 Beautiful Thing
2 Where Is The Love
3 Say Something
4 Out Of Reach
5 Still Tonight
6 I Need Someone
7 Till The End
8 Lately
9 Let It Live
10 Is This Bliss
11 Keep On Giving In
12 Holding On

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