Now and then other people apart from me choose to write about Haven. Here, I'm gonna have a go at tracking down as much literature about them as I can. So be thankful.
Reviews Of "Til The End" EP
NME 15th May 2001
If NME did its Most Influential Artists Of All Time Poll now, how well would Talk Talk do? Jesus, it'd be a landslide. That earthy mid-'80s angst is very 2001 and Haven may well be the last word in it. Let's hope so. This EP is so unrelentingly earnest and highly-strung that actually nothing gets through. Yes, singer Gary Briggs has an impressive range but it's like being sandblasted à la Geneva, only a couple of octaves lower. And his misery is so middle of the road, so neutral that ultimately you don't care. Sorry Gary. Hope it works out for you in the long run.
The story goes like this: guitarist Nat met singer Gary in a small record store in their mutual hometown of St. Just, Cornwall. They started talking about the love of an album they both wanted but couldn't afford. Halfway through the conversation, each recognized who the other was: friends had been trying to put the two together for music's sake, but neither had taken the initiative. But this freak meeting was all it took for Haven to take flight. The star-scraping quartet have since relocated to Manchester, grabbed the attention of one-time Smiths' manager Joe Moss, jammed with Johnny Marr and been called "life-affirmingly brilliant" by the NME. The soaring vocals and swirling guitars of "Til The End" will catch your attention, as they have the above luminaries, bringing you back for listen after listen, and keep you wanting more, the way the right bands do.
This is a 4 track taster for the forthcoming album, and although it's not exactly groundbreaking its certainly not offensive. The lead vocalist Gary Briggs has undoubtedly got a stunning voice, which is displayed in its full glory on track 2, Beautiful Thing, which is an acoustic number and very uplifting.
If you are a fan of the Smiths or Manics you will like this, otherwise you may be wise to stay clear, although it is always a good thing to be exposed to new music! They have already toured with the likes of Badly Drawn Boy (they also live in Manchester), so their profile is rising rapidly; the future for them is not looking too bad.
PlayLouder Single Of The Week trophy spends the week in Manchester! Again! this is getting to be a habit... Anyway, this week's charmed incumbents are the magnificent Haven, courtesy of their glorious debut 'Til The End', out now on Radiate. In essence, it's what their supporter's'll tell you Muse do, all hanky-clenching profoundly crumpled drama flapping at the stars with a paintbrush, but if Bellamy and the boys have recorded anything as genuinely affecting as this then we've yet to hear it. There may well be a lot of this about, but Haven are touched by an especially masterful dose of the epics, and, on 'Speaker's Corner' they even sound like Talk Talk. Expect plenty more where this came from.
Unfortunately, 'Till The End' is the type of song name that brings up horrific images of Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams serving up another horrific power-ballad, while grimacing like they have a bad case of diaoreaahh, which is their apparent attempt to 'emote', and show their fanbase that, yes, they have heartbreak too. Most probably after realising that they caught herpes from their latest encounter with a loose-willed 'lady of the night', and their friend 'Tallulah'. Wait though! Because Haven are actually fantastic. Honestly! The subject is that of a broken heart, but there are no string sections, or fake angst. Instead we have a finely-honed slice of emotional rock, with a delicately picked guitar line exploding into a massive chorus with their singer 'imploring you to stay'. Oh the agony! I'm off to go and weep like a schoolgirl...
Reviews Of "Beautiful Thing"
NME Jun 29 2001
Haven are Manchester's newest, moodiest men in black. They're managed by Joe Moss (previously the man at the helm of The Smiths and Marion) and they sound a bit like Geneva, a touch like Elbow and lot like both bands Moss has previously had a hand in. Cue big guitars kicking up a storm. Cue gorgeous male vocals with falsetto leanings and wistful inflection. Cue a band who are one of the best new prospects in Britain. Thanks to singer Gary Briggs' spectacular voice, Haven are already forging their own sound, gradually feeling their way to greatness. On the evidence of this first single proper, it should be well within their reach.
A West Country four-piece who relocated to Manchester and are currently enjoying the patronage of one Johnny Marr, Haven are not Smiths copyists, instead having a windswept indie-rock sound that recalls early Radiohead.
What they do share in common with Marr's former band, however, is a fierce passion, echoing through Gary Briggs' wracked voice and their driving guitars. 'Beautiful Thing' is, indeed, beautiful. It is also possessed of a power that indie bands seem to have long since discarded in favour of navel gazing introspection. The first step to much greater things.
. Imagine if you will for one moment that Britpop never happened. If that were the case, then Haven would indeed be heralded as the new messiah’s. Sadly, Britpop came, conquered and basically disappeared up it’s own arsehole. A shame because Haven are more than likely to now be lumped into the same shit dripping scene, which is almost criminal as ‘Beautiful Thing’ is a beautiful thing indeed.
Combining the jangly elements of the old school indie scene, with the moody vibes of the likes of Radiohead and Embrace, Haven end up somewhere close to what we would get if Muse and Starsailor decided to join forces. Basically it’s more than a little interesting. Hopefully with the band taking part in all sorts of tours and festivals over the summer a lot of people are going to sit up and take notice. If they don’t then the record buying public at large are going to be cheated out of a very special band indeed.
There's been a buzz around Haven, though it seems to have maintained its level of buzzidity for the last nine months or so - maybe 'Beautiful Thing', the follow-up to their debut EP, 'Til The End', will accelerate their rise. Released on Radiate, it features passionate vocals a la Muse/Radiohead, and is a pleasant enough ditty, though they have a way to go before they surpass fellow Mancs Elbow in that area.
Everyone in Manchester must surely have seen Haven by now. They haven’t left yet. but their second release shows signs that they will soon be gradually be on the up. Two stand out tracks from their live set have been “Say Something” and “Beautiful Thing”, the latter being this latest release. And they’re worth buying, in this limited guise (which we have to do, as we’re not on the promo list !), as the first single “Til The End” is now worth a few bob.
So to the single, which is again nicely packaged. The lead track is nice and heavily distorted, with plenty of sparkle, sounded very much like Talk Talk at their best. The video for this is rather good and the recording has had some real effort made into capturing some of the energy that seemed absent in their earlier gigs. The transformation is quite remarkable and this is one great record, with its epic moments, no doubt inspired by Manchester recent rock resurgence.
“Lying Tongue” is more countrified and more in the style of a skewered ballad, which has a lot in common with the third and final track “Through It All”, both of which are more representative of the rest of their stock of current songs. Overall the title track has it all and hopefully is their gateway to success.
Reviews Of "Let It Live"
The Brain Farm
Their first single was fantastic, their second was the b-side to their first, and 'Let It Live' is the third rocket from the Haven crypt, and though it doesn't match 'To The End' in terms of quality, it's still a decent track with some excellent guitar sounds, and the singer Gary sounds a bit like Fran Healy in the verse part, but nothing like him during the chorus, which is admittedly a bit weak. Just saying the song title four times in a high voice does not a searing chorus make, but it's cool cos this song is cool, and their debut album should be good, and people who've seen them live lately say they're pretty good, so everyone's happy.
As we type, a great big Shaggy-styled bus with our face and a great big whopping PLAYLOUDER logo on it is heading to Manchester, via Cornwall, to deliver our coveted (even by God and that Moses bloke) Single Of The Week trophy to Haven. It's true. And the reason for this great expense on our part can be found in your local rekkid store right now, in a green cardboards sleeve, with 'Let It Live' written on it. We suggest you pick one up, take it to the counter, hand over cash (or Visa), and go straight home, where inserting it into your CD player and whacking up the volume dial will cause much feeling in your good self. You will be transported in to heavens above, you will feel joy and pain, and you will write us letters of thanks and praise for pointing you in the direction of a guitar record with soul, made by a band in possession of a frontman to cherish and weep for. Basically, we are trying to tell you that 'Let It Live' is one of those rare things - an epic guitary record with its feet in Manc and its head in the stars... we haven't felt like this about something like this for fucking ages. It is that special. Love it, as we do.
Manchester's adopted indie guitar heroes Haven have reinstated their claim as the best epic newcomers with this, their third and most accomplished release.
'Let It Live' is a meteoric belter of a tune. Epic guitars collide with heavily reverbed vocals to turn out a suitably nonchalant anthem. Very much in the vain of an early Oasis B-side (a compliment) and produced by Smiths' legend Johnny Marr, this has a huge chorus and should pave the way for a lift in the careers of Haven.
Jump on now...Their time is now.
The adopted Scallies and Anorak wearers blitz out another Johnny Marr produced single. "Let It Live" is a powerful rocking affair with Gary Briggs vocals soaring to sufficient new heights. The guitars are given time to shine and the heavy effects and surefire rock n roll crunched up rhythms are enough to set your soul on fire and twist up your ears. This is probably one of the more powerful and direct songs from Haven and its a welcome giddy change.
"Comes A Change" is a trip back to more familiar and I would say slightly weaker Haven territory. There's more acousticness, a trait which seems to afflict their B-Side tracks more often than not. The songs are OK and there's not much to fault, but none of these numbers are as memorable or as infectious as the others, which is a shame. It'd be better to have fewer stocking fillers and more mind blowing stuff that will convince me that there's a lot more to Haven. "Last Dance" is more sultry shenanigans, which just doesn't light up the wick and get the emotions stirring. "Let It Live" as it stands though is a nice defining moment for the band as they pursue their careful and studied route to progress.
Reviews Of "Say Something"
Had the obvious talents of Haven emerged back in 2000 we'd be worshipping them in the same breath as Coldplay and Travis. Sadly for Haven, the boat to mainstream-land set sail a while back and they're stuck on dry land clutching their guitars in despair.
But that's not to downplay the sheer beauty of 'Say Something' or the Manchester-based outfit who captured the imagination of former Smiths linchpin Johnny Marr so much that he produced their album. It's just that no matter how hard they try, Haven are destined to be seen as a second division band compared to the sub-standard Travis/Coldplay clones already populating the lower reaches of the charts.
You could do a lot worse than treasure 'Say Something' for its acoustic majesty, the rippling electric guitar and Gary Briggs' brokenhearted vocal.
I saw Haven play live back in the summer. I stood there, bored out of my mind for a lot of the gig. Until they started this song. It's like finding a Reservoir Dogs Director’s Cut video for £3.99 buried amongst the Teletubbies section of WH Smith. Surrounded by utter bilge, comes a gem.
"Say Something" is a rock epic in the very best sense of the word. An irresistible guitar line soon leads to singer Gary Briggs initially hushed vocals. The chord changes are divine, inducing chemical excitement in your brain. Then comes the chorus.
It's almost like Briggs is escaping from some secure compound as he begins to sing the chorus. His incredible voice soars and scrapes the sky, and only the stoniest heart will remain intact. It's a stop what you're doing moment. It’s like hearing Jeff Buckley sing for the first time again. Magical.
Yes, yes, Haven are doing nothing new, but when the tunes are as great as this, who cares? When Haven headline Glastonbury in 2003, and every soul around you is singing along to this, I'll wager you'll join in.
What a joyous record this is. After releasing dull, insipid, MOR songs previous to this, Haven have finally come up trumps.
Haven are another product of the rippling guitars, the biggest (selling) twelve-inches and the most infamous druggies in the music industry. Instantly recognisable are the Manchester factors, in the music at least.
Johnny Marr Productions now present Say Something — an amalgam of the rippling Johnny Marr–produced guitars and the Happy Mondays' catchiness with a hint of the twenty-first century's secret ingredient which will take this into the charts and to the playlists of every self-respecting radio station. Look out for an album due for February release; this band will be big in 2002
NME 17th January 2002
In the polluted, litter-strewn airstream of pop, the much heralded Haven are perfectly formed dandelion seeds, organically grown and ready to beautify whatever wasteland they settle on. At least that's what the immensely buoyant, shimmering guitar chimes and wholesome falsetto seem to be proclaiming in the third single from these Cornwall spawned urchins. With the assistance of Johnny 'Smiths' Marr as producer they easily pull off the floaty yet gently yearning, pastoral JJ72 thing, but whether that implies a future as fawned-over sensitive poet laureates to the otherwise 'taut riffage' obsessed guitar scene, or a similar trajectory to that of, erm, Geneva, is not yet clear. Next month's 'Between The Senses' album will decide whether there's more to them than a joke about putting the angel into jangle.
Reviews Of "Between The Senses"