4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Where You Stand (Audio CD)
I recently read a glowing review for this album in a national newspaper over a week before it was released. I wonder if maybe an exclusive preview could be anything to do with the review being glowing? What I did learn from the review however was that once upon a time Travis were commercially massively successful, their second album The Man Who released in 1999 shifting over three million copies. It seems incredible that a band who seem to have fallen so far off the radar could once upon a time have sold this many albums. However the review went on to inform us that each of the band's subsequent albums had gone on to sell half of the previous one, thereby explain why Travis had fallen off the radar. Having all six of their previous albums I suppose I could be termed something of a fan, however in truth I had largely forgotten about the band, as it seems have so many others.
Travis it seems have been superseded by a number of similar `soft rock' type indie bands who appeared after them such as Snow Patrol, Keane and especially Coldplay. The latter's music in particular being more epic and occasionally experimental than Travis who since their first somewhat harder rocking album have stuck to a relatively safe `easy listening, soft rock' formula. I suspect this is one reason that a band such as Coldplay have soared past them, although marketing and management have probably also played their part.
All of Travis's previous albums have some merit, even the patchy first album, Good Feeling but The Man Who probably still remains their best. After both their previous two albums, The Boy With No Name and Ode To J Smith in 2007 and 2008 they were written off by some reviewers as being at the end of their particular road. However, rather like the Bluetones, another band from the late nineties who are still hanging in there despite apparently decreasing returns, Travis are still with us and after a gap of five years release their seventh album, Where You Stand.
It's sometimes claimed that albums released during the past twenty years often have their stronger tracks and hit singles placed strategically in the first part of the running order and that albums frequently run out of steam. If ever an album is an example of this it is Where You Stand. The first three tracks are all decent, without being that outstanding, and if Where You Stand had maintained that level of consistence it would have been a decent album and perhaps one of Travis' strongest. As it is despite the favourable reviews I would suggest it is actually their weakest. After the first three tracks for me only the funky New Shoes is at all memorable, all the other songs are instantly forgettable. Another Guy is boringly repetitive, Boxes simply weak and monotonous and The Big Screen a slow dirge, epitomising all that is wrong with Travis as far as people who don't care for the band are concerned.
This review might sound odd coming from someone who has all Travis' previous albums, but I have played it several times now and I do think ultimately it is an extremely average release as time will probably come to acknowledge. It has however inspired me to dig out my other Travis albums and listen once again to see if the band were ever as good as I'd believed them to be.
I know that The Man Who had quite a few slow songs but I'm sure they were more memorably melodic than the boring dirge that is the final track on this offering.