Here’s a story children: One day, Travis, a band of sensitive Scot rockers, thought, “Hey, let’s write pretty songs like Radiohead used to and get famous!” And so they did. And everyone loved them and sang, “Why does it always rain on me?” But then… Coldplay swooped out of the sky and stole Travis’ sweet glory. They too were accessible to the masses and – gasp – British! Travis was sad.
Time passed. And now, an angry Travis returns. Angry? Yes, children, our little Eeyores that once sang of “Flowers in the window,” give cynicism a chance. Well, hey, Radiohead did it. Right?
See 12 Memories as a croon of disenchantment from the nice guys. They pull off the “I can sing angry songs with a pretty voice” bit, with added Brit rock charm. “Peace the Fuck Out” and “The Beautiful Occupation” are two of the strongest tracks that blatantly, yet politely point out “You don’t need an invitation / To drop in upon a nation.” You also don’t need to hide your message in lyrical ambiguity. But that always proved to be part of the reason we liked Travis in the first place: no nonsense.
No musical nonsense either. Travis is still a pop band. This step away from Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich actually feels like a step closer to the Radiohead sound. Flattery, I’m sure. Beef up the guitars, keep the choruses catchy, throw in some feedback, up the tempo, add a slice of Eleanor Rigby cello and – oh! – gotta have that dab of electronic drums. Not too much though. They’re still Travis, not Radiohead…yet.
[Joey Siara knows the sacred importance of top fives.]