I shall begin with a summary of each song.
Chinese Blues is very catchy and sounds very commercial and upbeat and would be great on the radio but this vibe masks a more profound set of lyrics. This track is very similar in these characteristics to their previous hit single Side.
J. Smith is, according to Travis, just a randomly made up name, one of the most common out there, just to devise a name for a character. As someone who studied Latin and still can decipher it to this day, I find the addition of this language in the second verse highly amusing, especially the line which translates roughly as "coal in your arse for eternity." Naughty Mr Healy!! Another big point of interest is the choir. Brilliant, unique track which is also catchy and would sound great on the radio.
Something Anything is another catchy, very listenable track with lyrics which speak to me and have meaning for me, and would widely appeal. The chorus in particular is very anthemic and I can easily picture crowds singing along to this at one of their shows (please tour soon, lads!)
Long Way Down carries on the catchy, upbeat feel to this album and is also easy to sing along to.
Broken Mirror is a short track with haunting and effecting lyrics, and it breaks away from the until now constantly punchy and happy sound of the album. Healy's voice sends shivers down my spine.
Last Words returns to the catchy and upbeat theme, well moderately so. There is a lot of lyrical repetition in this track and it's a slightly weaker track for me but it's a song which would still appeal to fans as it's easy to remember and sing along to.
Quite Free is very cool and upbeat sounding, and reminds me of summer and makes me think of festivals. Like Chinese Blues, this disguises a more deep set of lyrics and an overall theme.
Get Up is a very acoustic sounding track and very cool. It sounds slightly like a jam and a little raw but in a very good way. Quite probably the most catchy song on the album, this is a fun addition to the mix.
Friends is a really sweet and heartfelt track and one which everyone can relate to so a sure-fire hit and for this reason, I am sure it will be released as a single and will get a lot of praise and airplay, which it of course deserves.
Song To Self is another obvious single choice; classic Travis. Great instrumentals and brilliant lyrics with feeling behind both their conception and their performance.
Before You Were Young closes the album on a positive note and I love the addition of the piano. It's a beautiful little reflective song which moved me.
Overall, I can say this album is certainly worth the wait and is Travis at their best. I prefer this album to 12 Memories, and it's up there with The Man Who and The Invisible Band. A future classic, and classic Travis.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Chinese Blues
2 J Smith
3 Something Anything
4 Long Way Down
5 Broken Mirror
6 Last Words
7 Quite Free
8 Get Up
10 Song To Self
11 Before You Were Young