El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Epic Records

Scottish band Travis emerged during the late ‘90s when critics were running out of names of genres. They were put in the class known as British Trad Rock, music that was indebted to British classic rock bands. Over the last eight years, they have amassed four U.K top 10 albums, two of which made it to number one. Fifteen top 40 hits have come from those albums, but they still haven’t made a big of a splash in the U.S. yet.

In an effort to rectify that situation, Travis is releasing Singles covering the band’s body of work from 1997, when they released their debut single "All I Want To Do Is Rock" from the album Good Feeling, through to 2004, which saw the band release two new tracks for this collection: "Walking In The Sun" and "The Distance." The songs aren’t in order so you don’t hear the band’s progression, but it’s a very good mix and a great introduction to the band.

Travis creates music that is wonderfully melodic and built around great harmonies. Their sad songs bring a tranquility and peace to the listener rather than churning up more melancholy and depression. Whereas bands like The Cure and The Smiths create music that allows the listener to wallow in despair, Travis’ music captures the happiness that comes from the epiphany that your sadness and your situation are a universal experience that others share.

Healy’s songwriting covers a range of emotions and subjects. “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” asks questions in a “woe is me” vein like the song’s title and “Sunny days/Where have you gone?” that are a bit simple but accurately reflect a young person’s feeling that the whole world is against him. “Re-Offender” is a touching song from the point of view of a domestic abuse victim. It came out two albums later and you can see the growth and maturity of Healy’s work. Conversely, there are unabashedly joyful songs mixed into set such as “Flowers In The Window” and “Love Will Come Through” that convey the bliss of love without being sickly sweet.

Some versions of Singles include a jam-packed DVD that has the entire library of the band’s videos, previously unseen documentary footage as well as live performances such as their headline Glastonbury show in 2000 and their version of "Baby One More Time" from VH1’s Storytellers. The DVD is a must for fans.