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Travis are no longer fashionable. The millions who bought The Man Who have transferred their allegiance to other artists such as Coldplay and more recently Keane and James Blunt. Thus their latest album (not including their singles collection) 12 memories did not have the same success as their two previous albums the Man Who and The Invisible band. It is a shame as I quite like this album and would rate it higher than The Invisible Band and perhaps even the Man Who (I still think their first album Good Feeling is my favourite).
I like the CD cover. The black and white photos within photos of the band members works really well and makes me want to look at it closer. I also like it as it does have the lyrics even the one for the hidden track (the album has 11 tracks listed so why 12 Memories. There had to be a hidden track)
The CD starts off with Quicksand. I am not sure if this would be one I would have started with, as it is one of the weaker songs on the album. Its a mid tempo song that makes use of a cello to great effect. I am a lover of strings within pop music.
On this album Travis have got up onto their soapboxes and written songs about Issues. There are a number of songs that are serious in tone and lyric but have the trademark Travis use of wonderful melody. First up we have Beautiful Occupation. Its a catchy song with wonderful sunny harmonies in the chorus. The contents of the lyrics are not so sunny and light as the song is an anti war song about unnecessary occupations of countries such as our involvement in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Its also about our ambivalence to the stupidity of war as we ignore it and concentrate on minor stories about silly celebrities.
Half a million civilians gonna die today, But look the wrong way
Then read it in the headlines, Watch it on the TV
Put it in the background stick it in the back
For the beautiful occupation you don't need an invitation To drop in upon a nation
Reoffender was the first single to be taken from the album and is about domestic violence. When I first heard it I thought Fran Healeys vocal sounded a bit like Radioheads Thom York. It starts off slowly and quilt but develops into an epic chorus.
Peace the F**ck Out may be slightly controversial having have a naughty word in it but I like the sentiments of the song as I think judging by the lyrics it is about the stupidity of people especially when it comes to politics
You have a voice, don't lose it
You have a choice, so choose it
You have a brain, so use it
The time has come to
Peace the fuck out
I also must admit I like the memorable classing strains of Scottish football fans chanting the chorus.
When Travis are being typically Travis they can be excellent. Paperclips is a particula\r favourtie of mine. It is just so fragile and delicate. Its a very slow, quiet song with Frans vocal very mournful and almost haunting. The instrumentation is barely there with brushes, an understated guitar and a waver of clarinet in the background. It is a song that is about memories but those best forgotten.
Take a trip, down memory lane
You will never wanna go again
Take your leave
Take your leave
I don't wanna sing at all
I don't wanna be like you anymore
On the other hand when Travis are being typically Travis they can be very bland.The second half of the album is no way as good as the first half. My least favourite on the album is How Many Hearts. It is what I call a stock Travis song. It plods along nicely without doing anything exciting. Its very unmemorable and reminds me of some of the weaker tracks on The Invisible Band. It really is a filler song Somewhere Else and Love Will Come Through are other ones that do not stand out that much. They are nice enough mid tempo songs with some nice lyrics, but just washes over you compared to some of the other more powerful tracks. Unfortunately the hidden track at the end of the album is no way as good as Flashing Blue Light on the Man Who. Perhaps Travis should go with the old adage of Quality not Quinsy and had fewer memories on this album!
I have seen this album quite cheaply in record shop sales and I am sure you can get it for as little as £5. My copy was a Christmas present but you can buy this album on Amazon for £6.99