Haven - Between the Senses
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 6, 2002
By Tony BonyataAlthough they may be lumped in with the new wave of atmospheric Brit-pop bands such as Elbow, The Doves, Starsailor and Travis, the Manchester-based band Haven may actually have more in common with the reflective work from late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, as well as the precursor to many of the aforementioned bands in the form of an early Radiohead.
On their debut album Between the Senses, this quartet has produced a warm, mesmeric collection of effervescent songs that are introspective without slipping into the self-absorbed shoegazing of other similar acts. Their light, dreamy approach throughout the album is tethered to the hypnotic melodies by seemingly no more than a mere string. Each number leaves it's listener with a sense of well being that could easily disappear into thin air like a child's lost balloon.
The lush production of the album can be credited to ex-Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr, who perfectly marries Nat Wason's jangly guitars and the subdued rhythms of bassist Iwan Gronow and drummer Jack Mitchell with the quartet's sweet-and-lowdown harmonies and soaring choruses.
From the longing ache of "Out of Reach" and "Till the End" to the dreamy balladry of numbers such as "Say Something" and "Is This Bliss" this album, with affects not unlike a third glass of absinthe, mesmerizes as it slowly numbs the senses. And vocalist Gary Briggs' sumptuous falsetto voice - one that wails, cries and pleads throughout, makes this emotive package complete.
Call it a sixth sense, but this isn't the last you'll hear from this band.
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