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Travis: The Invisible Band



Album: The Invisible Band
Label: Epic

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About two-thirds of the way through The Invisible Band, the follow-up to Travis' remarkably appealing 2000 breakthrough The Man Who, frontman Fran Healy delivers a moment of jarring clarity. Singing just plainly enough to be eerily menacing, Healy announces, "But if it's all the same to you / here's what I'm gonna do / I'm gonna buy a gun / Gonna shoot everything, everyone / And then I'm coming for you." It's hard not to snap to attention, and not just because of the directness of the line: The song, "Last Train," is the ninth track on The Invisible Band, and the first that immediately demands notice. The others tend to blur together in a gentle haze of pleasant affirmation and breezy arrangements. Healy often boasts about his lyrics in interviews, but once again, they're the weakest element of Travis' music. His tendency to fall back on hoary tropes—"When your bird has flown away, she was never meant to stay"—is enough to inspire gratitude that the songs don't require much concentration. If it didn't follow an album with so many sweetly anthemic, sing-along classics ("Driftwood," "Writing To Reach You," "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?"), The Invisible Band would warrant wholehearted recommendation as a pleasant, pneumatic summer trifle. Under the weight of heightened expectations, it's a disappointment.