Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars I have a good feeling, 1 Feb 2008
This review is from: Good Feeling (Audio CD)
Travis is best known for being one of the most downbeat Britpop bands in existance, and they've certainly earned that reputation.

But don't expect quite the same melancholic pop sound in their debut "Good Feeling." It's Brit-pop, all right -- happy rock, depressed rock, evenly divided between melancholy and joy. It doesn't have the musical polish of their later efforts, but it does have the infectious exuberance of a young band.

"Hey/I would really like to talk to you/girl/all I want to do is rock!" Fran Healy announces happily at the start of the album. That sentiment carries through the first half of the album, full of uptempo powerpop that ranges from the fuzzy "Good Day To Die" to the swirling melody of the title track. What they lack in experience, they make up in gung-hoety.

When it hits the midway mark, "Good Feeling" changes in tone -- it becomes less about wanting to rock, and more poignant and plaintive. Despite the bouncy poppiness of "Happy," the second half is overwhelmingly melancholy ballads, usually about the fragility of love. While not as much fun as the powerpop, these piano-led ballads are extremely beautiful.

Most bands sound awkward when they're still figuring out what kind of music they want to do. Travis wasn't one of those bands -- they sound equally good when they do sad ballads, and upbeat catchy pop. And though Travis later decided to do the melancholy music, if you listen to "Good Feeling" it's hard not to wish that they could include a few uptempo numbers too.

For a beginner band they were remarkably polished -- the piano melodies are exquisite, and they do some remarkable things with crunchy guitar riffs and some reverbing basslines. The songwriting is one of the few stumbling blocks -- the downtempo numbers are prettily written ("I think you should be framed/in some fine art gallery/I know you'd disagree with me/but I love you anyways"), but the pop numbers contain some real groaners ("I'm a foot without a sock").

Those groaners are admittedly hard to notice, though -- Fran Healy sings these as if he's been doing it all his life, and he adds some extra life to an already solid album. One minute he's purring along and happily yelling along to the riffs, then he's softly murmuring along to the piano.

The style of "Good Feeling" got left behind by Travis, but their debut remains a solid Britpop album that mixes solid powerpop with exquisite ballads. Definitely worth checking out.
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