The Boy With No Name
Four years on from 2003's '12 Memories' record, Scottish group Travis have returned with their fifth album of original material. Arguably having paved the wave for soft-rockers such as Snow Patrol and Keane, the band peaked commercially at the turn of the Millennium on the back of their 'The Man Who' LP, famously opening the heavens at 1999's Glastonbury on performing 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' North Americans will be hoping they don't repeat the trick, as they spend the summer touring that side of the Atlantic.
As dependable as the sun rising and flash floods in the British Summer, Travis have returned with an indie album which favours lighter acoustic tones. '3 Times And You Lose' is a very understated opener and the mediocrity is also found in 'Battleships' and 'Out In Space'. That's not to say that the trademark, Travis sound is all bad, in the past the likes of 'Turn' have provided many a sing-a-long and 'Closer' also falls into that category. It lacks immediate impact, which isn't ideal for a lead single, but given repeated listens it turns out to be a track that will be hummed without you realising you're doing it. 'My Eyes' also flows with sweet melodies to provide Fran Healey's tender vocals with a platform to entice your attention and though unlikely to light up a festival like the band has previously, it could be glorious in more intimate settings.
Revisiting the rockier direction of debut album 'Good Feeling', much needed energy is given to 'The Boy With No Name' by the stomp of 'Eyes Wide Open' and upbeat second single 'Selfish Jean'. Best of all though is 'Big Chair', a moody mid-tempo number built on a sturdy Dougie Payne bassline complimented by a very simple and mesmerising piano riff. Classy and up there with the band's best, it demonstrates that Travis still have the ability to write very good songs and aren't over the hill just yet. Unlikely to capture the glory days of being music press favourites, they hang in with an album that will please their existing following, though they are unlikely to acquire many new fans..
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