Oh, Travis. Where do I begin? I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Scottish foursome. No, it's not because I think that some of them would look super-cute decked out in their clan's tartan...although now that I think about it...I digress. Sometimes their music teeters on that fine line; the one that is seldom tread by indie rockers and often walked on by soccer moms, but I don't care. Travis writes exceptional, and most importantly smart and sophisticated pop songs; and there is nothing wrong with that. The last time we heard from them was back in 2003 with their record 12 Memories, which wasn't the type of record that instantly wins over new and/or existing fans, but it was the type of project the guys needed to do and get out of their system.
I'm glad to say that The Boy With No Name is a more of a return to form for the band. It had to help that Nigel Godrich was back in the game to help steer the good ship Travis. Upon the beginning notes of the upbeat "Selfish Jean," its hard not to be reminded of the big sunny moments from 1997's Good Feeling. Then there is "Battleships," a beautiful, melodic song evokes memories of The Man Who. On the swirling strings and key filled "My Eyes," Travis shows the side that we have grown to love, while the brooding opening of the dark and sad "Big Chair" shows the more adventurous face of the band. On "Eyes Wide Open," the group finds the perfect balance between interesting instrument selections and layers upon layers of awesome vocals, distorted guitars and pulsating drums.
Regardless of what a lot of the critics out there have been saying, this Travis fan thinks that The Boy With No Name is their most solid release since The Man Who, or at least on par with The Invisible Band. Just give it some time and let it grow. Oh yeah, and the secret track at the end of the album ain't half bad either.