Haven Between the Senses

In the spirit of Radiohead and Travis, Manchester-based Haven depends heavily on introspective lyrics and the pretty pain of an almost comatose vocalist (Gary Briggs). Song titles like "Where is the Love," "Out of Reach," and "I Need Someone" are essentially telling of the mood Haven is trying to create with their debut disc, but the mood is not the only thing to this record. The songs are well constructed and interesting, with stellar guitar and keyboard work by Nat Wason. After several listens the record's depressed nature actually grew on me; the disc took on human features that helped me feel personally connected to it. Lyrically, Between the Senses could easily compete with other "I hate myself" Brit-rock offerings, such as those from the Smiths, but it is the "rip your heart out" bass lines of Iwan Gronow that creates a Shakespearean-like grandness on the album. This is a tragically beautiful record. (Virgin)