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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Gem
Having been a fan of Travis since their debut, Good Feeling, I was caught out by this album. Partly because I didn't know it existed until long after release, and partly because the first listen was like a breath of fresh air.

Previous albums had become a bit predictable, to the extent that The Man Who, The Invisible Band, and The Boy With No Name blur in my...
Published on 13 Jan. 2011 by A. Marczak

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good.
Published 4 months ago by Anderson


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Gem, 13 Jan. 2011
By 
A. Marczak "mazzarak" (Mordor) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
Having been a fan of Travis since their debut, Good Feeling, I was caught out by this album. Partly because I didn't know it existed until long after release, and partly because the first listen was like a breath of fresh air.

Previous albums had become a bit predictable, to the extent that The Man Who, The Invisible Band, and The Boy With No Name blur in my mind. All good albums, they weren't that different from each other (see the band Embrace for similar history).

Fran Healy appears to have rediscovered his electric guitars and pedals, and this is like a souped-up, hi-def version of the debut, with strong riffs, epic choruses and catchy melodies.

The underlying tones are still there, but the volume has finally been turned back up!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the edgier side of Travis, 30 Oct. 2008
By 
Janis Schacht (Bronx, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
I have to admit Travis has never totally sold me. The music has been very easy-listening and not particularly exciting...sort of like Take That. I bought this cd because I dj and need to have the newest material by British contemporary artists. I popped it on in the car and was surprised to hear an edgier (though not together appealing) on the opening tracks. I persevered and continued to listen and about half-way through the cd I found some songs I really liked a lot. The acoustic based "Gotta Get Up" is very catchy and instantly singable...this is my favorite track. My other favorite "Friends" has more of that signature Travis sound but the lyrics are so lovely that it sucked me in.All in all it's a very listenable cd and worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves repeated listening, 22 Nov. 2009
By 
furiouszed (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
The Boy With No Name was a fantastic 'comeback' album after four years without releasing a CD. Some amazing tracks like Eyes Wide Open (a great rocker), My Eyes (a song from Fran to his newborn son with some very touching lyrics) and of course Selfish Jean, helped enormously by the brilliant "T-shirt" video.

Ode To J Smith followed very quickly, whether to provide an outlet for more material recorded during the TBWNN sessions or simply to capitalise on that album's success. However, I was surprised and sad that not one track really jumped out at me (although Song To Self and Something Anything, both released as singles and therefore getting radio airplay, were at least recognisable). But to anyone who feels the same I urge you to stick with it. Every time I listen, another track starts to grow on me and I realise that there isn't really a bad song on there. You might not find a Selfish Jean (or a WDIAROM?) but you will find 11 very 'Travis' songs.

Fran and his family moved to Berlin in 2008(!) and if Travis are going to bow out of the music scene completely, I would rather they had done it with TBWNN. But Ode To J Smith still deserves a place in their catalogue, even if its raw sound places it closer to Good Feeling than The Man Who.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant surprise, 3 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
This album is a pleasant surprise! Having spent many, many happy years listening to Travis on recording and live I thought that there time had been and gone but seems there is life in the old dogs yet!! Well, they are not that old but you get the drift. Each track is unmistakably Travis, mildly rocking and well written. There are no bad tracks but to be fair none that are outstanding either. My personal faves are "Friends", "Chinese Blues" and "J.Smith" and "Before You Were Young". All in it is Travis in more mature mode as you would expect. It is not "The Man Who" or "Good Feeling" as they were more of the moment if you like but it's a solid, enjoyable album that is not trying to be something it isn't! Worth buying for definite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 1 May 2009
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
After waiting four years for their "The Boy...", hearing Travis had released another so soon after caught me by surprise. I really didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't what I got - a great album full of inventiveness and energy.

The songs are short so that they never outstay their welcome and the album clocks in at a breezy forty minutes or so (like a good old fashioned LP). Much more gritty and rocky than usual, Travis seem to have hit a creative nerve.

I love it, its a nice mix of styles and some of the songs hook you right away and in an era of flabby albums full of filler, a lean Travis album is a welcome sight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars different but good, 31 Oct. 2010
By 
N. Kemp (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
four 1/2 stars. Although the last offering from Travis was more mellow and 'commercial' apparently although I don't think it sold especially well. I love this new (new to me as I didn't realise they had released another album so quickly) album and it has a bit more 'edge' to it. However for whatever reason it doesn't feel as rounded as an album. is it the last? If you like travis you will like this. If you like the mellow travis you won't like it as much, but if you like the more edgy stuff then you will love it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it..., 1 Mar. 2009
By 
RogMc (Reading UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
I don't say this lightly, but this is Travis's best album yet. Quite Free, I could listen to again and again. Love it. Well done guys.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travis' Best One Yet, 9 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
I actually got this for my sister as a Christmas present - oh how I regret that! I borrowed it and I was blown away by it. I wasn't expecting anything too special, I just thought it would be more of the same from Travis. I was wrong. Electric guitars and edgieness are in, and hell do they benefit from it. Think of it as a much more mature Good Feeling (their debut album). Problem with their debut was - as good as it was - you knew Oasis did that sort of anthemic rockers better. No Oasis influence here - it's just all Travis here.

In a year in which everyone went on about Elbow, Coldplay, Oasis, Duffy, Adele etc, this is quite easily the album of 2008. Just a shame nobody cares about the real music like this. But what do the music buyers know? This is a truly great hidden gem.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant underrated album, 14 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
For me, this is their best album since THE MAN WHO,without a shadow of a doubt.It's raw,it's edgy and it's poignant.

Chinese Blues,J Smith,Something Anything,Friends,Song to Self and Before You Were Young are right up there with the best songs they have ever done whereas Broken Mirror,Last Words and Get Up are lesser tracks in my opinion,hence only 4 stars.

I also particularly enjoy the whole concept of the album and its cohesiveness.

What i'm annoyed with and perplexed about though is Travis's seemingly fall out of favour with the British public.For whatever reason they have gone a bit below the radar and not regarded as one of the best bands in the country such as the beginning of the millenium.

This album is miles better that any other commercial rubbish out there and yet it barely scraped the top20, which is a real shame because it deserved a lot better and it would have changed a lot of peoples' opinion about Travis.

I definitely think this album suffered from a distinctive lack of promotion,indeed ,most of the poeple I know have not even heard of it.I only stumbled upon it by accident a few weeks after its release,even though i'm a long time Travis fan.

This album should have deserved a wider audience.It will be interesting to see where they will go from here.Cannot wait!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It would be a Travis-ty if you didn't love this long-awaited album., 29 Sept. 2008
By 
Flickering Ember "I need a break and I wanna ... (Once Upon A Long Ago.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ode to J. Smith (Audio CD)
I shall begin with a summary of each song.

Chinese Blues is very catchy and sounds very commercial and upbeat and would be great on the radio but this vibe masks a more profound set of lyrics. This track is very similar in these characteristics to their previous hit single Side.

J. Smith is, according to Travis, just a randomly made up name, one of the most common out there, just to devise a name for a character. As someone who studied Latin and still can decipher it to this day, I find the addition of this language in the second verse highly amusing, especially the line which translates roughly as "coal in your arse for eternity." Naughty Mr Healy!! Another big point of interest is the choir. Brilliant, unique track which is also catchy and would sound great on the radio.

Something Anything is another catchy, very listenable track with lyrics which speak to me and have meaning for me, and would widely appeal. The chorus in particular is very anthemic and I can easily picture crowds singing along to this at one of their shows (please tour soon, lads!)

Long Way Down carries on the catchy, upbeat feel to this album and is also easy to sing along to.

Broken Mirror is a short track with haunting and effecting lyrics, and it breaks away from the until now constantly punchy and happy sound of the album. Healy's voice sends shivers down my spine.

Last Words returns to the catchy and upbeat theme, well moderately so. There is a lot of lyrical repetition in this track and it's a slightly weaker track for me but it's a song which would still appeal to fans as it's easy to remember and sing along to.

Quite Free is very cool and upbeat sounding, and reminds me of summer and makes me think of festivals. Like Chinese Blues, this disguises a more deep set of lyrics and an overall theme.

Get Up is a very acoustic sounding track and very cool. It sounds slightly like a jam and a little raw but in a very good way. Quite probably the most catchy song on the album, this is a fun addition to the mix.

Friends is a really sweet and heartfelt track and one which everyone can relate to so a sure-fire hit and for this reason, I am sure it will be released as a single and will get a lot of praise and airplay, which it of course deserves.

Song To Self is another obvious single choice; classic Travis. Great instrumentals and brilliant lyrics with feeling behind both their conception and their performance.

Before You Were Young closes the album on a positive note and I love the addition of the piano. It's a beautiful little reflective song which moved me.

Overall, I can say this album is certainly worth the wait and is Travis at their best. I prefer this album to 12 Memories, and it's up there with The Man Who and The Invisible Band. A future classic, and classic Travis.
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Ode to J. Smith by Travis (Audio CD - 2008)
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