We’ve always been huge Travis fans. Even after they’ve fallen off the radar and other bands have slipped into the niche they helped create (see: Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Keane) they kept turning out solid albums. Their fifth studio effort, The Boy With No Name is really no exception.Though we’ve long given up on Travis ever putting out a mind blowing album, a la Radiohead, they manage to craft exceptional rock songs, with a pop sheen to them. This time around, the Scottish lads have expanded their palette slightly. Some songs, such as “Selfish Jean” have an uplifting jangle pop to them. With hand claps and bouncing guitar rifts, while others feel more muscular. On songs like “Big Chair” and “Eyes Wide Open” the bottom of the songs are driven by pulsing bass lines and angrier guitar licks.
This is not to say that Travis has strayed far from what they do best, creating tight brooding melodies with uplifting lyrics. That delicate piano and guitar shimmer. Fran Healy sounds as good as ever, his falsetto voice a familar reminder to a time when that wasn’t the norm. For fans of The Man Who or even 12 Memories, this effort feels like a thematic and musical companion.
On a related note, apparantly Fran Healy had a fan pull a knife on him when he refused to sign the man’s penis. I’m sure there’s a joke or cheeky comment in that story, but, it sort of works as it’s own absurd joke.