Winners of the coveted New Talent competition at Glastonbury, Manchester's Travelling Band have it all going for them at the moment. Self-avowed resisters of the 'the man' in corporate rock label guise, these beardy, raggle taggle guys look like they've moved in to your local park in a horse-drawn caravan, and their called after a Creedence track. What's not to like? It's a jangly acoustic vibe that pervades, but to term them 'folk' (as so many other bands do at the moment, to escape the straitjacket of indiedom) is misleading.
As befits a band starting out on the long road to full-grown career, there's a bit of restless style shifting going on here. Fighting shy of odious catch-all descriptions, the songs fall somewhere between early Gomez (especially on Biding My Time and Lanes Of Names), with a touch of countryfied twang, while at other (more intriguing) points they can even bring to mind Bob Dylan (Angel Of The Morning - at least in the vocal department).
Sparkling harmonies and bright chirpy guitars pepper this album full of bright-eyed optimism. It's the kind of record that'd make a fine Sunday morning accompaniment. I.N.V.E.R.T is spry folkabilly that almost recalls the Coral, while elsewhere the chiming strings and finely wrought harmonies bring on a distinctly West Coast ambience. Above all it's a ramshackle fuzziness that keeps you smiling. And that's no easy trick to pull off.
While it yet falls short of true greatness, Under The Pavement shows immense promise. Here's hoping they can break free of mere trends, avoid the traps and find their own road soon. --Jerome Blakeney
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window