You may well have read us gush about these bright young protégés of Johnny Marr before on this site. Since seeing them simply pulverise the opposition at the In The City A&R bunfight of 2000, we've been waiting expectantly for this debut platter. And we're not disappointed - much.
Haven in their live guise are honed to a tee in their adoptive home of Manchester. If you've seen them sear through their canon of corkingly brilliant songs, you'd be hard pressed not to agree that most bands would readily sell their souls to the slightly rouged horned geezer who hangs round at crossroads for a better set of choons. They're songs so naggingly familiar that you'll swear that you've heard them all before. Now that might feasibly get on your goat and ride it right round your rock n' roll paddock - but that's until you realise that they're not playing indie-by-someone-else's-numbers, they wrote 'em first - the talented bastards.
Small proviso, though. After checking the live product, you might just be an incy-wincey bit disappointed with this album even if it is chock-full of indie-pop-rock-pop delights. And that's by no means to do the four fine chappies that comprise Haven a disservice. It's just that compared to their raw energy onstage and the current trend for garagey sounding lo-fi-ish records (White Stripes, Strokes, BRMC), you get a feeling that this might have a couple too many tablespoons of magical proper-budget studio gloss. Yup, sorry Mr. Marr, but to cut to the chase - it all sounds a shade over-produced.
Hard to please ain't we? But please believe us, that this is a minor gripe 'cos this is a brilliant first album - and we mean right out of the indie urchin-boy band top drawer.
Three things really stand out on 'Between The Senses'. Heartfelt - but not cheesy rock-god vocals courtesy of singer Gary Briggs - verily soaring away like a choirboy on Jack Daniels, smart-alec ace guitar lines from Gary's compadre Nat, but best of the lot are those anthemic songs aplenty - spanking gorgeous choruses on all.
'Say Something' may well be the first taste for some (No 24 in ze charts) but there's a lot more in the locker...'Beautiful Thing', the achingly brilliant 'Still Tonight', 'Til The End' and 'Let It Live' have sure got the beating of anything Starsailor could muster, and even Coldplay and Travis if you want to look to older foes. Pretty wild claim you might say - but cop a listen of this minor triumph of an album and you'll not disagree. Sure, they might not take off like a rocket if their kinds thing's currently not flavour of the month (and unfortunately it may not be) but in terms of not majorly innovative, timeless songs - you'll struggle to hear more finely crafted choons this year...