Review: Jack Foley
IT'S been two years since Travis released The Invisible Band
and a lot has happened since then.
For starters, the world has changed, post September 11 - a fact
not missed by Fran Healy and co.
While Travis, themselves, have endured a life-altering experience
that was very close to home - when drummer, Neil Primrose, sustained
a spinal injury in a freak accident.
Hence, it is a wonder 12 Memories exists at all, yet,
thankfully, it does, and the ensuing 11 records are a typically
strong collection, which aren't afraid to tackle some difficult
Current single, Re-Offender, for instance, dares to take
a look at the effects of domestic violence, while Peace The
Fuck Out is one of three devoted to the fallout from the war
in Iraq (or war on terror).
Yet while many bands ram their message down listeners' throats
in a somewhat clumsy fashion, Travis possess the ability to make
their point without ever feeling preachy.
The melodies are as lush and seductive as ever before, couched
in some beautiful strings and piano, while the guitars are equally
well-observed, without ever seeming too intrusive.
Travis may be tackling some weighty subjects (probably the boldest
of their career), yet they seldom sound depressing, thereby avoiding
comparisons with the likes of Radiohead, for instance.
At its best, 12 Memories gives way to some really great
records, such as the chirpy Somewhere Else, or the entrancing
Love Will Come Through (which was previously only available
to download as a taster of the album).
My personal favourite, however, is the brooding Walking Down
The Hill, a completely haunting track, with tingling piano
throughout, which epitomises everything that Travis are about
- quality, intelligent, thought-provoking songwriting.
12 Memories may not be as instantly accessible as the
likes of The Man Who or The Invisible Band - given
its darker edge and tougher subject matter - but it might yet
prove the most durable.
2. The Beautiful Occupation
4. Peace the Fuck Out
5. How Many Hearts
7. Somewhere Else
8. Love Will Come Through
9. Mid-Life Krysis
10. Happy to Hang Around
11. Walking Down the Hill