Travis: Ode to J. Smith

Music Reviews
Travis: Ode to J. Smith

Fran Healy and company find themselves back on the good foot

As a band, Travis seems have found itself in the shadows—of influences, contemporaries and even its own previous releases. Calling this album an ode seems suiting, then. The record, at various moments, channels Nirvana, The Cure and the half-spoken delivery of Bono. Which is not to say that it is lacking originality. In fact, this may be the furthest Travis has removed itself from its catalog, with lyrics driven by a more outrospective narrative. “J. Smith,” with its Latin choir, carries the mystic of Gregorian chants juxtaposed against screaming electric guitar. “Broken Mirror” is punctuated with the thoughtful use of hi-hat and an unhurried rhythm. Tracks such as “Friends” and “Before You Were Young” have seemingly resulted from the band writing the album completely on electric guitar, a first since its 1997 debut Good Feeling. Consider it, then, an ode to what listeners liked about Travis in the first place.

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