x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Travis: Where You Stand

Their seventh album adheres to the evergreen Travis formula of delicately strummed folk-pop guitar and rolling midtempo rhythms.

Travis
Where You Stand
(Red Telephone Box)
***

 

One of the biggest bands in Britain at their commercial peak in the late 1990s, Travis soon gave up their soft-rock throne to more shamelessly sentimental acts such as Coldplay and Keane, both of whom credit these charmingly modest Scots as a key influence. After a five-year gap in which they prioritised family over music, Fran Healy and his fellow Glaswegians return with their seventh album, on their own label. The songwriting credits are more collaborative than before, but the sound adheres to the evergreen Travis formula of delicately strummed folk-pop guitar, rolling mid-tempo rhythms and mellifluous vocal harmonies. Healy’s liquid falsetto lends a luminous edge to the shimmering gallop of Mother and the gently dramatic The Big Screen, while Boxes is a wistful meditation on childhood games and impending mortality. Polite understatement prevails over stormy passion; the closest that Healy comes to negative emotions is on the mildly sarcastic Another Guy, a freewheeling song about romantic betrayal. Travis arguably remain too sweet and subtle for their own good, but this is their heartland and they seem comfortable here.

artslife@thenational.ae

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