Virgin Records – 2002 – 55 minutes

With glowing pre-debut album write-ups and former Smith guitarist Johnny Marr on board as producer, the omens looked very promising for the maiden studio outing by Manchester-based Haven. Something has gone horribly wrong, though, because this is pretty poor fare.

Three songs in and it's obvious what Haven are all about: a four piece English guitar band whose songs stick with that most sickening of templates – fragile beginnings developing into rousing finales. 'Where Is The Love' and 'Say Something', in particular, sound like they may have found favour in the glare of Britpop in 1995, but in 2002? Forget it. Singer Gary Briggs' quivering vocals often sound as if he's plagued by haemorrhoids, while the sound generated by guitarist Nat Watson, bassist Iwan Gronow and drummer Jack Mitchell never rises above the ordinary.

A flash of Marr's positive influence can be traced on 'I Need Someone', but really it's mystifying as to what Morrissey's one-time collaborator sees in this prosaic bunch. "It makes no sense," Briggs wails on 'Is This Bliss'. Wise words, crap album.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Beautiful Thing – Where Is The Love – Say Something – Out Of Reach – Still Tonight – I need Someone – Til The End – Lately – Let It Live – Is This Bliss – Keep On Giving In – Holding On