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TRAVIS The Invisible Band (Iii<lr2pt2ri<licntm O...
ravis are a cultural anomaly. They’re one I of those bands who no one admits to loving but who still sell literally millions of records. They headline festivals that no one admits to being ‘down the front' at. The Invisible Band will further their modest, stealthy global domination.
Some may snipe that the album title is a reflection of these supposed nice-but-dull lads, this is just snobbery. Travis don’t make music for snobs; they eschew esoteric ambition to engage
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in the noble, old-fashioned art of song craft, something they do with considerable skill.
The Invisible Band shits all over The Man Who.
It has more depth and balls than anything else they have produced but is still shy of classic status. That may well come in time however.
The killer choruses from The Man Who are in there, but they take a little more time than usual to seep out, an indication of this being of more lasting appeal than its predecessor.
Healy is still prone to bouts of tacky rhyming and phrasing and should surely be birched for calling anything the ‘Humpty Dumpty Love Song’, but his song writing is stronger than ever. The first single ‘Sing’ is a sunny testament to that.
The influence of producer Nigel Godrich however, cannot be understated. Only after listening to this does one realise just how much input he had in Radiohead’s OK Computer, and many of these skills are put to work here. Fran Healy breathes his vocals from over your shoulder and Godrich has brought a diversity of arrangement to the band that has previously been lacking. The brooding contemplations on ‘Last Train’ and the spacious sweep of ‘Afterglow' may have been lost at the hands of another producer.
Dougie Payne’s slinking bass on the Byrdsian jangle of ‘Side’ perfectly illustrates the happy/sad pattern of so many of their songs while ‘lndefinitely’, the album highlight, is a
It does not thrust its genitals into your leg or push its cleavage in
heavy-Iidded joy. It’s the song playing as the last of the party revellers depart and you’re left, with your loved one’s head resting on your shoulder, sleeping silently.
To say Fran Healy is a romantic is true but hopeless, you’ve got to be kidding. ‘All I need is you, You’ve got the glue, I’m gonna give my heart to you,’ he whispers on ‘Humpty Dumpty Love Song’. This guy could have the Hallmark Card poetry department in floods. OK, so he’s hardly breaking new ground with lines like that but his mournful little whine gets under your skin, and like the heady rush of love itself, you wonder where it has been all your life. Bands are queuing up to provide the soundtrack to your
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break up, but the soundtrack to going steady has never been so appealing. Not since the days of Difford and Tillbrook working their wily ways with Squeeze has this kind of thing been carried out so well.
This is polite pop music that does not thrust its genitals into your leg or push its cleavage in your face only to keep you at arms length. You get what you pay for from Travis and expectations are fulfilled.
Travis aren’t going to change the world, but they do make it a nicer place to be sometimes, which is pretty much all you can ask from any pop band these days.
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