Travis...with a difference

In their most eccentric work since ‘Good Feeling’, Scottish band Travis look set to gain a completely different crowd following, as well as open the minds of the fans they already have with the new release.

It has been suggested that bands such as Coldplay, Keane and Snow Patrol were only able to make their impact in the music industry after Travis paved the way for artists alike. Now, eleven years after their debut ‘Good Feeling’, the band return with ‘Ode To J Smith’, an album that in the same style as the debut has been written on electric guitar, something the band have only done twice and puts lead guitarist Andy Dunlop at the centre of attention.

Travis writes songs based on a variety of experiences and thoughts that occur over a long period. With this sixth studio release, the songs were mastered due to a rush of creativity between the band members, and recorded in two weeks, following a short UK tour. The pace at which the band was working clearing had some influence over the speed of the material, and it makes this the most cohesive album the band has released.

The songs were written in regards to a nameless character/s. The track to which the title would never have been without is ‘J. Smith’, is more of a story tale than an experience. ‘Something Anything’ was the first single from this release and was quite a shock to someone who was expecting the previous style Travis held. It marks a first for the band; it was bassist Dougie Payne having written the song and not lead man Fran.

This may be an album focused on electric guitar, but there are other features than help the new Travis side become noticeable. There is the introductory piano that leads ‘Chinese Blues’, ‘Broken Mirror’ takes this new direction to another level with the inter-space familiarity, and banjo on ‘Last Words’ sees a little of the familiar Travis peaking through; with an edge.

I enjoyed ‘Sing’, ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me’, ‘Slide’ and ‘Driftwood’. Each was an incredible accomplishment for Travis, but I like the way this material is heading.