There are two reasons why I've always argued that this is the greatest debut album ever made. Firstly, there are a lot of debut albums that I've not yet heard, so I'm open to the possibility that one day my opinion may just be subject to change. Secondly, and probably more importantly, it's stupendous. It does everything a debut should do; buzzing with the kind of joyous euphoria that only a bunch of scamps enjoying their first crack at the whole rock 'n' roll thing can convincingly pull off, whilst being undercut with just enough melancholia to ensure that (if you'll pardon the mangled metaphor), once the pop fizz has dispersed, there's still plenty here to get your teeth into.
For a neat summary of the Travis gameplan, look no further than opening track 'All I Want To Do Is Rock' - the teenage dream summed up in seven words, and we're not even past the first song title. And then there's 'U16 Girls', a cautionary tale of the dangers of underage seduction, but wrapped up in a pop melody so shiny you can see your face in it. Another key moment comes at the end of 'Midsummer Nights Dreamin'', a tumultuous ode to youthful excess. As the song shudders to a joyously noisy climax, accompanied by crunching guitars and Fran Healy's increasingly yelped vocal, you can't help but wish they'd let themselves go like this on their later albums; when they do, the results are spectacular.
To finish things (Travis not being ones to do things by halves), instead of one traditional end of album slowie, we get four. The last four songs on the album (not counting 'Happy' - a more self-explanatory title of a song there has never been, except perhaps for Radiohead's 'I'm Unhappy, But In An Opaque And Slightly Arty Way') are given over to a quartet of slow numbers so gosh darn lovely that they could legitimately have put all future balladeers out of work forever. In fact, by the time the impeccably restrained 'Funny Thing' drifts off into the ether, it's difficult to reconcile it with the gleeful bounce and energy that grabbed your attention forty nine minutes ago at the start of this remarkable slab of Scottish songsmithery, leaving the only realistic option being to return back to the start and listen to the whole thing again.