••• 10 Songs •••
Scottish indie Godfathers Travis return with their 9th album titled ’10 Songs’ on 9th October.
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It is now amazingly 23 years since Travis released their debut album ‘Good Feeling’, an album which started the band on a rapid incline of popularity that saw the band go on to headline the legendary Glastonbury Festival in 2000.
In 2000 everybody in the UK seemed to own Travis‘ second album ‘The Man Who’. The time was a bit between scenes musically, Britpop was over and more acoustic-based bands seemed to be the most popular, Coldplay had just released their debut album ‘Parachutes’, Doves also with their debut ‘Lost Souls’. In 2001 The Strokes released ‘Is This It’ and everything changed from that point, the scene turned more garage rock and then came The Libertines between the two of them, every youngster starting a band wanted to be either of those two and bands like Travis and Coldplay were unfairly looked down on but moving on 23 years later, Travis, Coldplay and Doves are still on the go and smashing albums into the top 5 of the album charts, that speaks volumes about the quality of the bands and the tunes that they produce.
Travis seem to be in a very content place with ’10 Songs’, it’s a more laidback listen than their last album ‘Everything At Once’ which had some big instant hitting tunes, perfect for radio play. ‘A Ghost’ is one of the big moments on the album and is laced with vintage Travis trademarks, acoustic start and Fran Healy’s vocals with a building layering of drums and bass until the bridge and stadium-sized chorus.
‘Valentine’ brings out the darker side of Travis, a side which personally I believe brings out the best in the band, the track has a ’12 Memories’ feel. Opening with the lyrics “If I lie here, I might die here, I may lay here for a while” it’s hard not to pay full attention after a start like that.
Barring these two tracks and the piano-driven album opener ‘Waving at the Window’, the rest of album is mainly ballads with a little country twang. These are also the tracks that blossom and soon become the stand out tracks though. ‘Butterflies’ is an head in clouds tune about having dreams but biding your time, like catching a Butterfly, you have to watch it for a while before the attempted capture. Fran compares this to his songwriting.
On ‘The Man Who’ the most interesting tunes were the slow ballads, ‘The Fear’, ‘The Last Laugh of the Laughter’ and ‘Slide Show’. On ’10 Songs’ the ballads are the closet Travis have come to recreating that same vibe. ‘All Fall Down’ is beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking and optimistic in equal measures. ‘A Million Hearts’ is just pure heartbreak, another tune where the tinkling of a piano is the driving force behind the track, the chorus of “You’re one in a million hearts, letting go of you is tearing me apart.” Hits you really hard.
‘No Love Lost’ is an emotionally charged finish to the album, it could be interpreted has somebody suffering from COVID and having to isolate on their own. It’s a very lonely track with Fran singing that he ‘woke up feeling shit this morning’, he then goes on to watch the rain from his window while not feeling that he belongs and shedding a tear. The track ends with a sad sigh from Fran.
’10 Songs’ is a beautiful album which existing fans will find comfort in and also appreciate the amazing songwriting throughout. Unfortunately, I can’t see Travis winning any new fans with this one but like I said earlier this a very content Travis just doing what they love without the pressure.
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