Between The Senses
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Between The Senses
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HAVEN Between The Senses (Deleted 2002 UK 12-track CD featuring the debut album from the Cornish indie rock band. Includes the singles Say Something Til The End and Out Of Reach. Complete with picture sleeve booklet and paint picture disc RDTCD1)
Between the Senses, the debut album by tender Cornish rock balladeers Haven, shuffles into the spotlight with no mean amount of expectation resting upon its slender shoulders. Not only was this band relocated to Manchester under the guiding hand of Joe Moss, ex-manager of The Smiths, but Between the Senses was produced by that band's stellar guitarist, Johnny Marr. This pedigree suggests that there's something truly great brewing in the imaginations of these four young men. Far from The Smiths' sprightly witticisms, however, Haven display a grounding in more traditional rock touchstones like Buffalo Springfield and Quicksilver Messenger Service. These are songs of sweeping anthem and ornate ambition, songs that pad along the well-trodden path of earnest indie-rock, snapping hungrily at Coldplay's heels. While "Beautiful Thing" and "Say Something" swoon up there with the best of them, Between the Senses does feel a little threadbare towards the end, let down by a reliance on mid-pace rock songs and a limited palette of moods. Ultimately, this is a sturdy, competent debut. But for Haven to really live up to their much-vaunted potential, they're going to have to come up with something that resonates with a power that right now sounds maddeningly just beyond their grasp.--Louis Pattison
Top customer reviews
Track 1 'Beautiful Thing' is a subtle opener showcasing what is to come on an effective debut for the cornish band. From the same sound school as peers Travis, Embrace, Coldplay and Starsailor, Haven perform the kind of touching ballads of heartbreak and confusion but never really dwell in continued wall staring misery.
'Say Something', if listened to in the wrong mood, is a near tear-inducing recounting of a failing relationship. 'Out Of Reach' is, put simply, fantastic. A moving combination of sweeping guitars and vocals with a typically evocative chorus and is probably the album's standout track imbued with a dark sense of confidence.
'Let It Live' is another immediate track with killer riffs and hooks guaranteed to have you singing a little too loudly on the bus or train to work.
Johnny Marr's involvement in the production on this album, has to an extent overshadowed the groups achievements which in essence is 'another classic rock band pedalling the notion of 'classic' songwriting.'
There is an edge to Haven's songwriting for the most part but ultimately the record is set on one theme and whilst reminiscent of the sturdy, sentiment and atmospherics of bands like U2, you can't help but crave the band to step away from the safe ground and open up their sound a little more.
Much of whether this offering appeals to the listener depends on Gary Briggs' pleading, evocative vocals, whilst these are his band's most obvious weapon they may not be to all tastes. Like Starsailor' James Walsh, his falsetto voice is beautiful and instantly recognizable, but can get a little tiring amongst the epic scales.
Effectively this is a great start for a promsing band who on this example seem destined for greater things.
Although they don't have any real hook you can listen this CD from start to end and overall is a good album that sets you sometimes on those 80's ballads. Marr (Electronic) is producing this group but you can't hear his guitar influeces anywhere, he had a better job at Electronic why did he quit?.
Great voice indeed, but the group's sound is not quite polished or have a personality of thier own.
I recommend Kent (Isola or Hagnesta Hill) for a better listening if you are in the pop-rock indie.
`Beautiful Thing' opens the album with a stadium riff which football fans may recognize before Gary's voice comes through for the first time. It isn't until the chorus that he shows off his vocal abilities and proves that he had the potential to be one of the great male vocalists of the new millennium. Lyrically, like most of the album, the song touches upon love and beauty. Marr's influence can be seen on some of the guitar parts, and especially on the more distorted sections. This is an effortless opener which tells you all the basics you need to know about the band, but without unveiling all of their skills.
`Where Is The Love' is a softer ballad, mixing multiple guitar parts with sublime vocals which rise and fall in an airy fashion. A strong verse leads into a strong chorus, though this time there are no stadium chanting one liners. The lyrics cover the lack of love in a relationship, or in the world in general, never quite being insightful, but avoiding cliché.
`Say Something' is probably the best known, and the best single from the album, opening with one of the most memorable and affecting riffs of the last ten years. The verse is incredibly touching in its hope, in its futility, and in its honesty, and the chorus is the stuff of legend with soaring vocals sending a simple message into the skies. Thanks to the vocals there is an epic feel to the song but there is not a hint of cockiness or the grandiose to it. This is one of the great lost songs of the 2000s.
`Out Of Reach' reigns in the unashamed pleas of the last song and enters darker territory in terms of tone and style. An eerie, down tuned distortion opens the song and continues throughout while Briggs's haunted vocals linger through the verses. Just when you think the song will continue in this vein, up pops another huge chorus with tortured, beautifully yelled vocals of desperation. Once again the lyrics (for me anyway) threaten to pull things down as it is nothing we haven't heard before, but they are delivered with such conviction, power, and skill that we should see that the message we have all heard is now being told in its most convincing and effective way, almost like this was how the feeling was originally conceived.
`Still Tonight' thankfully returns to a much lighter tone with another excellent riff, bouncy melodies, and gaping chorus of heartfelt honeymoon love. This one again deserved to top the charts, easily over stepping all the more successful bland ballads which were around at the time. Vocally sumptuous, effortlessly constructed, and full of emotion this is another forgotten gem.
`I Need Someone' continues with the lighter tone, another A-D based song of love and joy, and what happens without such things. We yet again get a combination of big riff, smooth verse, and stadium chewing chorus. The vocals can both help you to chill and let your rock side out.
`Lately' is almost a carbon copy musically of the previous song, but much softer and reveling in the lack of a guitar attack. This is light and laid back, another song of devotion to charm the coldest of hearts. High in emotion, with that same effortless quality, the song really explodes after the solo/middle section where Briggs unleashes some of his best vocals. It isn't difficult to make a respectable, heartfelt ballad- they're just difficult to find; some of the best are on this album.
`Outside' picks up the pace again, showing us the heavier side to the band. Though things never truly rock or get out of fourth gear speed wise, this shows the group can do rock Jeff Buckley style- with big chords, jangling riffs, huge vocals, but never becoming arrogant or focused on the solo or distortion.
`Let It Live' continues with the heavier feel, sounding more angry and dark. Marr's guitar influence is present for all to hear, with swirling hissing background effects merging with clean stroked notes and U2 sized chords. At times the background noise almost overcomes the melody and vocals, but it is tactfully pulled back at all the right moments.
`Till The End' is the best song here, a huge punch to the gut and soul of all romantics. We should be used by now to huge choruses, this one may be the biggest. The song is constructed simply, the lyrics repeat, but this all serves to highlight the angst, the pain, and all the other emotions squished into these few minutes. The vocals almost break at several points, squeezing tears and similar thoughts from even the hardest listener. This one is all about force and melody, with the riffs and music almost taking a background seat.
`Is This Bliss' settles things down, giving us the albums longest song, and softest ballad. Harp-esque guitars climb over sliding vocals which question love. Vocally we are high pitched, whispery territory with a backing chorus of harmonic chanting. This is another emotion drenched song which, far from sounding samey with the rest of the album instead sounds like another undiscovered facet of a band who are just experiencing every corner of love for the first time.
`Keeps On Giving In' ends the album in downbeat fashion after all the peaks of emotion. This is almost bare of music in places, and many will say it sounds dreary and depressing. However, the melody and vocals shine through and the song is well placed thematically- after all the singer and listener have learned about love- the pitfalls and the heights, we keep on giving in to its pull- both the light and dark side. Should we be so under the spell of this feeling, or of this person? It is also funny that they replace the big chorus with a series of sighs as if everything that has gone before has exasperated them and they have given up.
Between 2000-2010 there were a number of bands and albums from all genres which should have been successful mainstream hits, but due to a lack of airplay and because they didn't fit with the fashions and trends of the time they have largely been swept away. Between The Senses is one of those albums, full of potential and with any number of songs which could and should have been big chart hitters. The band would go on to release a sadly lackluster second album and vanish, perhaps if their debut had been noticed they would have gone on to greater things, or perhaps this was simply a one-off. Either way this album stands as a reminder that the soft rock genre still has much to offer when all the right notes are struck. With a vocalist as emotive as Briggs, and with the melodic ear which the band seemed to have, the album easily transcends the barriers between forceful intelligent music and songs to drift away to on a romantic evening. This is one of the albums of the decade which music forgot, and one of the albums we should remember.
Have to say I was slightly disappointed after the first listen.... but it is a grower.... with 'Beautiful Thing', 'Still tonight' and 'Lately' among the high points of the album.
There are hints of Radiohead, Embrace, Bluetones & Starsailor, but as the latter proved you don't have to be different to be successful.
The guitars are majestic the vocals almost inspired, but you just can't help feeling a little bit let down or indeed that Haven do have so much more to offer..... maybe producer Johnny Marr could have a chat with his old pal Morrissey for a little lyrical input for their next endeavor?!?
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