A new album from 90’s veterans Travis is here with us, and it is a fairly energetic proposition. Big sweeping choruses fly boldly around, all feeling very brightly coloured. Available as CD or gatefold LP, or even a deluxe CD edition with a Travis short film directed by Fran Healy. On the band’s own Red Telephone Box.
6/10 Robin Staff review, 27 April 2016
I once made a mash up of Travis’ post-Britpop classic ‘The Man Who’ and Grouper’s ambient B-side album, ‘The Man Who Died In His Boat’. I called it ‘The Man Who (Died In His Boat)’; hear it here. What I’m trying to say is I really fucking love Travis, and also that they are definitely post-Britpop’s ambient band: vague platitudes, anonymous choruses, and the most ineffectual frontman of all time make them fully worthy of their status as The Band That Launched A Thousand Boring Bands. Their last record, ‘Where You Stand’, was a surprisingly upswinging collection of pop songs that would’ve made comeback-era Take That happy, with a front cover that ripped off Starsailor’s ‘Silence Is Easy’. As if to say: it’s okay that this was all secretly just pop music.
‘Everything At Once’ seems to continue that trend -- the title-tracked single feigns an interest in electronic music (like, a programmed beat) before bursting out of the gates with a politely distorted guitar and a chorus whose lyrics fade into total insignificance. The track’s verse is playful, even coy, which is a word I would never usually attribute to this band: Healey mumbles through it like he’s doing a cover of Tatu’s “All The Things She Said” while totally missing the point. It’s terrible, but you can rely on the band who argued that if “we turn, then we might learn to turn” to stock up on indecipherable mantras: “I don’t wanna be fake / I wanted to give / wanna give it away”, for instance.
Travis are… having fun? The music videos that lead up to this record are all silly as fuck, even for the miserable songs, which suggests the pressure to actually be relevant has disintegrated entirely. It makes their music a lot looser: “3 Miles High” has a tea-cosied bassline over earnest-not-earnest guitar strums and glaring synth chords -- there's also a melody that sounds like if Coldplay had been true to their routes and sans Beyonce on "Hymn For The Weekend". It’s Travis by numbers but also Travis by the fire: they’re phoning it in but it’s how they unwind. The fluorescent twee pop of “Magnificent Time” sounds like Belle & Sebastian if they were filled with the same floodgate joy of new Coldplay: dear God, it’s horrible.
For most of you, this band is buried deep, deep in the unvisited corner of your brain -- so I don't know how good an idea it is to hear them celebrating themselves. I recommend this record to myself.
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- Everything At Once by Travis
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