Travis are a fairly easy target. They’re a band for monotonous drives or rainy Sundays. They make music for end credits or staring out the window. But that’s not to say they aren’t incredible in their own pared-down Glaswegian fashion. Often mellow yet never dour. Quiet yet never silent. Simple, yet always brilliant.
10 Songs is their first album release since 2016’s Everything At Once and continues their winning formula: an album of about 10 songs, usually under 40 minutes, never outstaying it’s welcome, and always begging to be put straight back on for another listen.
It is also the first Travis album since, 2003’s 12 Memories to only feature songs written by frontman Fran Healy. This gives the album a much more personal feel, yet at the same time gives each song a vignette feel. Each track is a short story, propping up a larger theme, or sound.
With all that said, Valentine is a noisy little number that will no doubt upset listeners expecting more songs of the Why Does It Always Rain On Me? variety, but the band have mastered the art of shaking themselves off and making music that although is familiar but never stale. The lyrical content is soft yet cutting and Healy’s voice has never sounded better.
They breeze through odes to the outdoors, soft regrets and inevitably, love. The only way they could sound more autumnal would be an 11th song, containing only the sound of crunching of leaves.
A Ghost could easily be a song from their noughties heyday, a gentle upbeat song destined for the next singles compilation. It’s a bold statement about invisibility and about existing, about how living is actually easier than spending your life buried underneath your pillow. A statement doubly bold given that Travis had a whole album about them being The Invisible Band.
But once again the music speaks for them. It’s Travis. More of the same yet just as good as ever.