Travis - The Boy With No Name
Producers: Travis, Nigel Godrich (Additional Production by Brian Eno)
For some reason, there are always some group of bands that are easily pegged to be Radiohead rip-off bands. For a lot of good bands, these judgements are incorrect and not justified. To me it doesn't make much sense for Travis to be compared to Radiohead. Yes, there are some elements that are similar. But it had always seemed to me that Travis was a lot closer to Oasis rather than Radiohead. Thankfully these days, Travis have proven themselves to be far beyond those dumb comparisons. And now they have returned with The Boy With No Name, their first album in four years.
Travis is definitely a band consistent with their sound. Some bands would be criticized for it, but it easy to look beyond it and have it be justified when the songs are of great quality. It really shouldn't matter as long as the songs are great and hold up well. Travis has mastered this action quite well. But The Boy With No Name accomplishes the feat of actually evolving the sound itself rather than going through a vast overhaul. This is an excellent show of talent and skill by Fran Healy and the rest of the guys. One of the first songs off of the album is "Closer". I must admit, I have not been a Travis fan long. But after hearing this song, it propelled my interest of them quite a great deal. Now that I know a lot more about them, I can compare their work with greater knowledge. Travis are definitely known for having great singles come from their albums in the vain of Oasis. Closer being the 1st single from the album is without a doubt one of the strongest singles I have heard from them period. It's a romantic type of song but the overall heart of the song and how good the song itself is keeps it from being over the top or corny. It's a hard song to resist.
"Selfish Jean" the 2nd song off of the album is a definite show of how Travis can makes affect your mood. Like "Closer" it's hard to resists. This song is catchy as hell and has such a positive effect because of it. It kinda of reminds of earlier Beatles songs in that it commands a positive reaction out of people in the way it's catchy. Plus if you need anymore proof of how cool this song is, type in "Travis" and "Selfish Jean" into Youtube and you will see the video of it by an international comedian expressing the song in the most literal way possible. There are few more songs that sound like they would fit on any Travis album like "Battleships" and "My Eyes". These songs do a great job of showing off the music Travis makes. Those songs are very strong, enduring and how genuine they are with the music. The only song I feel like is the weakest is "Eyes Wide Open". it's just missing a lot of qualities out of a great Travis song and interrupts the flow of the album a bit. Some of the songs do require some time to get into. But Fran Healy is a incredible song writer and his skill to make a song feel very open makes it easy to connect to it. He has constantly done this and doesn't let up with this album.
The production of the album is quite incredible. Out of all of their albums this is the best produced album and it shows. Nigel Godrich who has produced most of the Radiohead albums, a few Beck album and has produced every Travis album since The Man Who does his best work with the band with some addition production by Brian Eno. Towards the end of the album, the album really takes the sound into a lot of new impressive directions. It's starts off with the song "Out In Space". This song is very dreamlike and does an amazing job of constructing an atmosphere. But the best example of Travis evolving it's sound is the song "Colder". The song seamlessly combines the old with the new. It makes the band sound completely new without it sounding like a different band. One of the best things about the song is that it's written by Dougie Payne, the bassist. It shows great potential out of all members of the band. This band has become the strongest it's has been.
This album should be a landmark for this band. It shows a band growing in sound and in talent as they have progressed over the years which very few bands do as they've gotten older. This album has definitely pointed Travis towards an interesting direction. If Travis continues what was started off by this album, and is able to combine talents and use it to their fullest potential, expect something incredible from these guys.
Recommended Songs: Closer, Selfish Jean, Big Chair, My Eyes, Out In Space, Colder
Recommended if you like: Coldplay, Beck, Oasis, Radiohead, The Beatles, The Verve, Keane