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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Travis - Ode To J Smith

TRAVIS
Ode To J. Smith


It’s all come full circle. Twelve years ago, Travis borrowed £600 from singer Fran Healy’s Mum to put out a debut single on their own label, Red Telephone Box. Now, after selling a whopping ten million records, their major label contract has come to an end, signalling the revival of Red Telephone Box for the release of their sixth album.

Going back to their roots clearly agrees with the quartet and, if their previous record, The Boy With No Name, showed a return to form following the pessimistic 12 Memories, then Ode To J. Smith is as effervescent as the band has ever sounded. Anthemic opening track Chinese Blues is followed by the wailing guitars and operatic choir of J. Smith and the foot-stomping Something Anything. This rousing start is gleefully maintained throughout, with Long Way Down sounding energetic enough to have been lifted from their debut and Last Words being this year’s Sing.

Travis threw together the album from scratch in just three months to allow bassist Dougie Payne to go on paternity leave. Sure, it’s not very rock ‘n’ roll, but it has left a nice rough edge to things, which suits the rockier nature of most of the songs.

While their contemporaries sound increasingly tired and uninspired with every outing (I’m talking to you, Oasis), the Scotsmen continue to blossom, and it’s just possible this is their best album yet. It’s surely time that Travis received the recognition they deserve as one of the best bands Britain has produced in the last twenty years.

5 comments:

Owl and the Grapes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You're an amazing reviewer. You make me want Travis, and to be truthful I've never been a fan. You're awesome.

Bobby Six said...

Fran Healy is very underrated as a songwriter in my humble opinion.

Dave Anderson said...

You convinced me to get it! I can't leave the house cos the carpets are getting cleaned and it's not on ITUNES! WTF?

MIKE BORGIA said...

Travis, from my point of view,started out as a luke warm radiohead sound alike band but shortly after progressed into their own skin. This is an enjoyable album most of the way through and much rockier indeed.

I HYPED Travis on EverHYPE and scored it 91%, which I think is very accurate.

http://www.everhype.com/hyper/mikeborgia?X=S1749

If you get on there, rate me a 5 on it and request friendship.

Hype