Sunday, 5 May 2013


How exciting it was to hear Travis playing a live session on the Radio yesterday.

When I was 12 Travis released The Man Who and that album and it’s follow up The Invisible Band were a hugely important part of the soundtrack to my adolescence. I can so clearly remember sitting in the back of Mum and Dad’s car on the way to Pembrokeshire listening to them on my CD Walkman. The landscape was often either wet and grey or beautifully green and sunlit. Travis seemed to fit the mood either way.  At one point in the journey, near Port Talbot, the motorway has been carved through a hillside creating a valley through great sections of rock with strange arched bridges over it. If I’m ever doing the journey now I think about The Man Who at that point.

I devoured the albums completely and loved every song on them. Many of the tracks seemed to reflect how I felt, a particular example being As You Are which completely summed up an unrequited crush with a girl who knew I fancied her and even kissed me once, but would also be perfectly happy to be a bit mean and embarrass me at any opportunity. The angry middle section really helped when she did that.

The Invisible Band had many great songs on it including what I think is one of the best songs anyone has ever written, Flowers in the Window. I loved the more angry and political direction they took around the time of 12 Memories but unfortunately that was one of a handful of albums I left on a train (with my CD Walkman) and I was never able to get into that album as much.

Sometimes when I’m writing songs I worry that there isn’t enough “clever shit” going on. I wonder if it would be better to make the guitar part more showy or complicated, of if a chord sequence is too simple. Thinking about this recently I’ve realised that most of the music that inspired me was “real” and that the song should really be the most important thing. I think Travis have a similar attitude, their best songs are wonderful songs, Fran has a beautiful and wonderfully controlled voice and only uses it to serve the song, the guitar parts sound superb but again never try and take away from the overall effect of the track. If it’s simple but it works that really is the best of all, I’d say. I met a songwriter recently and thought he was great but struggled to tell him why. In the end I just said “it’s songs, isn’t it?.”

Here’s the new video from Travis, so glad they’re back!

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