It’s been an interesting ride for Travis over the last decade.? When I saw live for the first time back in 2000 my first thought at the end of the show was, “damn I wonder how long it’ll be until Fran Healy goes solo.”? And yet, that hasn’t happened.
There is something admirable about a band that sticks together through the mucky muck.? Their first few albums were all great Britpop-rock albums, but the problem with Travis is that everything after The Invisible Band has sounded like a cookie cutter Travis album.? That doesn’t mean they weren’t pleasurable records, it’s just at a certain point I’ve had to accept that Travis made a particular type of record and they weren’t going to deviate much from that template.
To be honest, I was just happy they were making records at all, after almost calling it quites in the wake of drummer Neil Primrose breaking his back in a swimming accident. Since then they’ve taken their time getting back together as a band and last year’sThe Boy With No Name served as a reintroduction.? But there was always something missing from their last few records.
Travis knocked out a follow-up album to The Boy With No Name in a two week session and are set to put out Ode To J. Smith, so named after a song on the forthcoming record, “J. Smith” on Sept. 29 (tracklist here).
From the sounds of the first single “Something Anything” and the leaked “J. Smith” it sounds like they might have found that hunger. The songs sound edgier, more adventurous, willing to take chances and let the guitars rip it.