“As comes to an end, sensational UK based rock band, Travis, brings their U.S. and Canadian tour to a close, which centered around their recent release of a sixth album in November of 2008. Last year was spent planning for the tour as the band returned to the studio and recorded their latest album Ode To J.””
As comes to an end, sensational UK based rock band, Travis, brings their U.S. and Canadian tour to a close, which centered around their recent release of a sixth album in November of 2008. Last year was spent planning for the tour as the band returned to the studio and recorded their latest album Ode To J. Smith in just 14 days. While Travis is notorious for winning Best British Band at the annual BRIT awards in 2000 and 2002, and having five previous albums rise to the top ten on British charts, the new album has received mixed reviews as it dives in a much different direction than previous work conducted by the band.Known for their Beatle-esque ballads and heart throbbing love songs, Travis return to their roots with Ode To J. Smith. Frontman Fran Healy refers to the new album as a dark fairy tale that follows several events in the day of the life of a lonely man where the struggle between hope and suicide lays thick with heavy guitar chords and the rough vocals that are so often attached to most indie rock bands of today. While one might miss the nostalgic light hearted appeal that their other albums maintained throughout the past 11 years, the new album has taken much more of an artistic approach that is both dark and tantalizing in.Each song exists as a scene within an unfolding tale and they are written in such a way that anyone can connect with the faceless characters involved. J. Smith, the second track which follows after the album’s title, introduces the main character with a solitary standing that is both mysterious and entrancing. The Snow White concept of seeking answers within a reflection comes to mind with a fragmented realization of unimportance in the track Broken Mirror. While the entirety of the album maintains this dark approach of reflection, it isn’t until the hybrid final track Before You Were Young, that we are swept away by a solitary piano accompanied with familiar lyrics that speak of love, hope and perseverance. Any avid Travis fan will find themselves mesmerized by the haunting sound of gongs echoing behind Fran Healy’s straining voice as he finishes up the final song with the lyrics: In the days before you were young, we used to sit in the morning sun, we used to turn the radio on. What happened?Travis has brought an incredible addition of folk songs to the forefront of modern rock since they formed in 1996. While they take a much more modernistic approach to their new album, Travis manages to maintain those independent self-reflecting ideals within Ode To J. Smith that reins triumphant throughout the rest of their music. Though most fans wish that Travis had stuck to their folk roots, the release of their sixth album proves that the band can evolve with other up and coming artists, and Ode To J. Smith is full of evidence that Travis isn’t retiring anytime soon.