As the 90’s drew to a close and Britpop was declining in favor, Travis released their sophomore album The Man Who with its single “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” and brought attention to the post-Britpop movement. Coldplay’s Chris Martin has said that Travis “invented [Coldplay] and a lot of others”. However, where other bands aspired to selling out stadiums at the price of “good” songwriting, Travis has consistently created great songs that have never felt like they had “sold out.” As the Scottish four-piece have gotten older and had families, their output has become more spaced out. Nonetheless, far from fading into obscurity, almost two decades on from their debut album Good Feeling, Travis is releasing their newest album Everything At Once on their own label, Red Telephone Box.
The first few seconds of the opening track “What Will Come” might give listeners cause to worry as it starts with pop-laden synth. However, it’s not long before the synth fades to the background and Fran Healy’s unmistakable vocals start singing over a catchy acoustic rock tune. “3 Miles High” is the first single chosen from the album and is as unassuming as it is catchy. Healy vocals are subtlety backed by up-and-coming Norwegian artist Aurora, which only further enhances the loveliness of the melody. One of the most beautiful tracks on the album is “All of The Places” in which Healy seems to be singing about living life in the moment and not wasting opportunities with loved ones. “Teach them how to love and how to understand this life/Because you only have one chance” is sung over a glistening guitar riff and captures a classic Travis sound.
Not all the songs on Everything At Once fall into the acoustic rock that many of their past albums are made up of. “Magnificent Times” roars out the gate with a distorted bar chords before Andy Dunlop’s distinctive sparkling scale riffs join the fray to create a carefree rocker. Dougie Payne plays a distorted bass line as Neil Primrose beats a steady rhythm on the toms before strings join to introduce the darker “Paralyzed”, which feels like it could have been on the melancholy album 12 Memories. The title song “Everything At Once” might be the most out of place yet the most interesting. Synth samples dominate the verses with Healy singing constant, rhythmic, stream of consciousness lyrics before the distorted electric guitars join the rock out a quick chorus only to drop out as the synths come back in.
Everything At Once is an album that takes influence from their entire back catalogue to create a classic sounding Travis album while still feeling new. The catchy pop songs and beautiful guitar melodies that shine on each song remind the listener of why the band won Best Band at the BRIT awards (twice) and influenced so many bands early in their career.
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