Haven - Between The Senses

It makes perfect sense that Johnny Marr produced the debut Haven album. After all he's the missing link between Manchester rich musical heritage and in the adopted sense of the word a step in the right direction to Manchester's musical future. Manager Joe Moss has always had that Midas touch from his days with the Smiths to the vastly under-rated Marion and now in the 21st century with the Cornish bred / Manchester raised Haven...the only doubts we ever had was whether they'd ever match up to the promise they showed in those early Manchester gigs.

At its very best "Between The Senses" could only ever be a let down and to date its only really the recent single "Say Something" that has matched that early potential with a simple melody courtesy of guitarist Nat and the soaring passionate vocals of Gary Briggs. The real problem lies in the fact that while half of this album touches the gods the other half limps along with a feigned lack of interest. They claim on "Still Tonight" that "the word you throw at me don't make no sense" but deep within their hearts there must be a real sense of under achievement.

They had everything with the "Beautiful Thing" and "Let It Live" and that carries on to a certain extent on the likes of "Still Tonight", "I Need Someone" and "Till The End". In essence they bridged the gap between heartfelt sensitive literature with and an almost working class poetry in a way that hasn't been seen since Embrace at their peak. While Johnny Marr worked wonders taking the raw sound of Marion's debut and shaping into something special for "The Program" at times "Between The Senses" seems a triumph of production over actual songwriting. "Where Is The Love" and "Holding On" for example seem like Ultrasound's rejected b-sides and that original promise of writing classic timeless songs seems to have been lost in the quest for experimentation.

Haven still are a fantastic live band and with time I have no doubt that in time they will release a classic album given the chance. However with the recent culling of indie bands they must be aware that if this album performs badly they could be left in a situation not dis-similar to Marion where they actually they release there best album to a totally uninterested British audience.

Alex McCann

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