Long before Coldplay and Keane, there was Travis. Fran Healy and his Scottish bandmates were known for their melodic, heartfelt soft rock sounds. Back when they were at their prime, I wasn't a huge fan, though I do like them. It was enough for me to listen to their singles only, and of course, after the first time I ever heard 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me', I knew this I can relate to. After a singles compilation in 2004, Travis went on hiatus, and I thought I wouldn't hear from them for a long while.
Just when least expected, Chris Martin went on Chris Moyles' BBC radio show to announce their comeback and premiere a brand new track off the new Nigel-Godrich-produced album. Then, the single 'Closer' quickly surfaced on the internet as the album title was revealed to be 'The Boy With No Name', which is a reference to Fran's own son. When Keane is busy making lame-ass videos and releasing singles that no one buys, when Coldplay is busy in the studio with Brian Eno working on their fourth album, it is the perfect time for Travis to return.
Knowing Travis, I didn't expect a change in their sounds. Knowing their fan base, Travis keeps it like the way it is. As a lead single, 'Closer' captures the signature Travis sound that makes them so likeable/annoying to some. It's a lovely, intimate song with sweet melodies to boot. One does not gain any street cred listening to this, in fact one might have to enjoy it in private if they're so inclined about being cool. But Travis's never about being cool. When the UK is oversaturated with scruffy, afro-haired indie dudes, this seems a refreshing gem and keeps me eagerly-waiting for the album. Not that I expect it to be a 12 tracks worth of career-defining moments, just 5 great single-material songs is fine with me.
Plus, the cd cover is their best-looking yet since that of 'The Invisible Band'.
Have a listen to their new single, among other new tracks below. Note that they're all myspace/radio rips though of very good quality, so if you like it, be sure to buy the album when it drops this May.
Travis - Closer
Travis - Big Chair (BBC Radio Rip)
Travis - My Eyes
Travis - 3 Times And You Lose