Travis: Everything At Once
(Red Telephone Box)
LP / CD / DL
Out: April 29
The seasoned Scottish songsmiths return with another sterling collection of wistful hooks and soaring melodies.
Scottish four-piece Travis have spent a lifetime trying to live with the ‘safe’ tag – they are the boys every mom wants their daughter to date; they’re vanilla ice-cream; they’re, well, ‘pleasant’. It’s a shame that this is used as a taunt, for on Everything At Once, their eighth studio album, they continue to produce breezy melodies with confident aplomb.
Singer Fran Healy had previous spoken about this record being more short and succinct, and it’s true the record’s ten songs come and go in quick fashion, none outstaying their welcome. Take ‘Magnificent Time’, which meshes a saccharine, but satisfying, R.E.M.-style jangle with deceptively melancholic lyrics. Speaking of R.E.M., while ‘Radio Song’ shares a title with the Athens legends, it’s a world away, musically – a taut, atmospheric strum on a coiled spring, sounding like an off-cut from the scuzz of Ode To J Smith, albeit more focused and ominous.
The title track, where bassist Dougie Payne takes centre stage on the chorus, is a garbled, gleeful rocker, while ‘Animals’ shimmers and glows. The band are best known, though, for their sad, classic records (see 2001’s The Invisible Band as a fine example), and there’s enough wistfulness here to keep the faithful entertained, from the earnest, autumnal shuffle of ‘3 Miles High’ to the gorgeous, yearning ‘All of the Places’.
Everything At Once serves as a neat compendium for all of Travis’ plus points, and while ‘pleasance’ is surely on there, that’s certainly no bad thing.
Watch the video for ‘Magnificent Time’ below:
Sam Lambeth is a Birmingham-based journalist, writer and musician.