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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 59 - 08/04/01

The Invisible Band

With their second album, The Man Who (1999), Travis suddenly sold millions and became BIG. Their debut, Good Feeling (1997), was more in the rough Brit-pop vein, but on their second they refined their purely melancholic expression to perfection. I can't tell the number of times it's been on my player, especially on my discman. Outside, lying in the grass, while figuring out the many harsh, fucked up realities of life. Or - trying to forget them. The Invisible Band has been out for some time now, and most critics have gone raving ape-crazy hailing it a masterpiece, a classic of our time. Myself I've let it sink in slowly, just to be sure what I really think of it. And, I must say, it seems like Fran Healy has been standing in the rain too long.

First single and album opener Sing didn't convince me the first times I heard it. But after spinning it a lot it's unveiled all its inner beauty, and it's grown (still does). A fragile, so simple pop song. But gorgous. Maybe it's the banjo that does it. Then the album keeps on, and I get this feeling of something being wrong - something's missing. The songs (and the sound) are too kind, too smooth, too clean, too nice. I miss temperature. I miss some roughness. I miss the nerve. Songs just pass by. Sweet pop, OK, but they just disappear. I do't say the songs are bad. They just don't go under my skin. Well, there are some songs better, but only a few. Afterglow is one. Follow The Light another. And The Humpty Dumpty Love Song. But first and foremost Sing.

And, well, I'm not exactly disappointed. I only feel a bit bored, as I'm thinking: so what? The Man Who still is a classic album. Will be forever. Band aid for a broken heart, medication for lovesickness. For those in need of such. And - why not more of songs like The Man Who's hidden bonus track Blue Flashing Light?

Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Travis article/review: Coming Around.

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