It must have been notoriously difficult for Travis to produce a follow-up to their massively successful "The Man Who" of 1999. Although this album repeated the feat of its predecessor by going straight in at no. 1 on the UK album chart, it did not win the admiration of nearly as many listeners, who seemed to believe that "The Invisible Band" housed songs of poorer quality than "The Man Who". This has distressed me greatly over the years, and I am eager to persuade you buyers otherwise. Three Travis singles are included on this album, the most obvious standout being the classic "Sing". This superb track sets the sound for the remainder of the album, with its trademark Travis guitar lines and laid back, indie-tinged rock style. The other two singles are "Side", a fantastic rock fest that thoroughly deserved to break the UK Top 10 or even Top 5, but unfortunately only managed a no. 14 position, and "Flowers in the window", whose jaunty pace ensures that the listener's foot taps irresistibly until the closing stages of the song. Other tracks that follow a similar style to "Flowers in the window" are "Follow the light" and "Afterglow", both of which are rather lively and contain positive lyrics. As ever, the lyrics in each of these songs are intelligent and true to life, and arguably lead singer Fran Healy's songwriting talents are displayed to their fullest on "The cage": "But then this bird just flew away, she was never meant to stay, oh to keep her caged would just delay the spring." This is one of my favourite tracks on this album, with its beautiful lyrics and lovely melody, sprinkled with simple, dreamy keyboard notes. There are, of course, the customary "depressing" Travis songs included here, which I prefer to think of as being brief moments of self-indulgence for Healy. The curious "Dear diary" suggests that Healy is at the end of his tether; his haunting vocals are surrounded by mysterious electric guitar ostinatos, providing a tense and compelling listening environment. "Indefinitely" could also fit into this moody genre, starting quietly and giving Healy the chance to show his vulnerability. My personal favourites from "The Invisible Band" are the masterpieces that are "Last train" and "The Humpty Dumpty love song". "Last train" begins with somewhat scary guitar strumming on a single chord, and building relentlessly to a haunting ad-lib section where Healy chimes "woo-woo" in imitation of a helpless, lonely train. The lyrics in this track are more violent than in others featured on this album, and assist wonderfully in creating an apprehensive aura. "The Humpty Dumpty love song" also contains ingenious lyrics: "All of the king's horses and all of the king's men, couldn't pull my heart back together again." There are beautiful string samples that kick in at around one minute and thirty seconds, and their temporary instances of discord are stunningly spine tingling. In short, this album is an absolute must for music lovers everywhere. In my opinion, it is Travis's finest work to date... excepting their Greatest Hits album, of course.
The Invisible Band was the follow up to The Man Who, an album that generated excitement to either side of the pond, and turned Travis, and more importantly Fran Healy, into one of the most recognised (though perhaps not on the street - the reason the album was named The Invisible Band was that no-one recognised them in person) bands in British rock today. The question on everyone's lips at 2001 was if Travis had shaken off the glitter and stars that had burdened them with the success of the previous album. And quite simply, they had. The Invisible Band saw Travis use more of the banjo (however disgusting that may sound) in hit songs such as 'Sing' and 'Flowers in the Window'. These songs in no way reflect the album in style, as 'Side' proves to be one of the most thought provoking songs lyric-wise, and uses guitars softly and beautifully. As there is with every Indie's rock band, there is a hint of the piano in every song, including upbeats mentioned before. My personal favourite is 'The Cage', with its slightly mellow feel about a forlorn love lost, which has some tear jerking lyrics. Other songs show that Travis are willing to become a more upbeat band than previously thought. Overall, there is a feeling that Travis have developed into a budding, comfortable band, that aren't afraid to do what they want, rather than the band that were horrifically afraid of failiure and shot out slightly sad and depressing songs. They know that they have a cushion if they fall now in rock music, and seem a little more happy about that.
what side of Travis you like personally. There is non of the original almost rawkish Oasis type "All I want to do is rock" and gone is the emotional sweeping tunes. In their place is almsot an uptempo more poppish genre. But of course the standard is still here. Perhapts its just Travis's own side. It has replaced the Radiohead-esque The Man Who and the mid nineties almost Britpop rock completely. Possibly because now Travis have moved into the mainstream from possibley the indie scene thanks to the Man who. Still well worth a place in your collection. If you are a die hard fan such as myself or perhaps a pop fan longing for something different from the usual candyfloss drivel that ills the charts. I was ultimately disheartened by Side's chart placing at no 17. still the album has gotten hat it deserves, a lingering bobbing up and down the top 10. the highlights being flowers in the window, last train. the cage, indefinitely and the humpty dumpty love song. But there is no weak point. I do love this album, even though it is so different from its predecesors. I have been a fan from the beginning and although it does differ considerably, I still think this is great. I keep asking myself whether it is the difference that makes it so great! Treat yourself to some decent, excellent music! Live long Fran Healy! any more comments wanted? e-mail me!
'The Man Who' was an album which as well as having instantly likeable classics also had an abundance of tunes which gradually etched themselves into your mind. 'The Invisible Band' is no different. The first track 'Sing', is one most people are probably familiar with from airplay, but as one listens to the rest of the cd a few times, more tracks come to life. 'The Cage' is a beautiful song with Travis' now trademark harmonie vocal style after its chorus. 'Indefinetely' has a melodic interlude that lifts the listener into the music. The acoustic guitar and vocals on all tracks is crisp and the musicianship of the highest standard. Some may argue that this album conveys a melancholy tone and has lost some of the presence of 'The Man Who', but you cannot argue that in its quieter tracks, the new album has a real timbre and feel. Those who are not familiar with Travis, may want to entertain, 'The Man Who' before this album, as it is a definitive start point (even though Travis have another earlier album), for a naturally progressive band, with both a classic and 00's feel. Unlike Oasis and similar acts of the genre, Travis have been able to produce music without arrogance, attitude or 'cultured social aggression'. 'The Invisble Band' is such a warm and meaningful album, that nothing gets in the way of the listening experience.
After having released "Why does it always rain on me?" and "Turn", I was expecting some of the same after having purchased this album. However, as the laser in my CD player picked it up, I was astonished by the quality. I skipped "Sing" as I had heard it 100 times before on the radio - even though it was a brilliantly written track. Track 2 then led me into the world that was the REAL Travis. "Side" and "Pipe Dreams" are simply incredible tracks that anyone should just purchase the album to hear anyway! An essential purchase and goes well in a 3 CD changer with the following: Stereophonics (JEEP) and Coldplay (Parachutes). I was not a single bit disappointed with this album and I recommend it to anyone. I mean come on, this is Amazon, it isn't going to get cheaper elsewhere. Simply click purchase. Go on, you know you want to. I personally wish Travis well and praise them for their emotive moving music experience. They have worked hard for this album, and it shows. Ignore the UK album charts, this album SHOULD be number 1.
'Sing', 'Side' and 'Last Train' are my absolute favourites on this album. When I first heard 'Sing', I was enthralled by the melody, but disappointed at the lack of lyrics. However, I then realised that this is the absolute beauty of the track; reiterative, one-line choruses only serve to reinforce.....so SING!!!! Because this is a happy, happy song!! 'Side' has a haunting melody and lyrics full of insight...it's a song that grips your soul. For those of you who've seen the Travis video 'Live in Glasgow', 'Last Train' will make sense. I found its lyrics rather disturbing at first, and though they are disturbing, can be viewed tongue-in-cheek also. All the songs are fantastic to listen to if you like Fran Healy's voice....and I looooove his voice; Fran's vocals have developed progressively with each album. No extra, unexpected track at the end though, which was the only thing that was disappointing.
Travis seem to have decided upon thier direction now, after the very heavy guitars and shouting vocals on their debut album 'Good Feeling' to a complete mellow (perhaps rather sombre)sound on 'The Man Who'. This album follows on yet there seems to be more opitmism with very simple pop songs such as the single 'Sing' and an old b-side revamped 'Flowers in the Window'. There are a few tacks that do conform to peoples perception of Travis beeing another band to be taking infuence from the Radiohead misery, tracks such as 'The Last Train', which is very depressing and 'Dear Diary' which is very moody and almost slightly dreary. However there are some brilliant songs on this album. 'Side' is rumoured to be the next single and what a fantastic choise, full of wisdom and a very catchy chorus to say the least. There are no songs that stand out as having the almost 'amthem' like status such as 'Why Does It Always Rain on Me' from 'The Man Who', yet with the summer festivals aproaching 'Sing' could become a winner. Other tracks that I think are outstanding is the brilliant 'Humpty Dumpty Song','Afterglow','Follow the Light'and the lovely 'safe' with the brilliant line "A dolly mixed Up man with rotten teeth". This really is my favorite album at the moment.
It is possible to miss this gorgeous music or to dismiss it as something that sounds good but is not your thing. It is just not cool enough and a bit too accessible and pop like for you too be into Travis, you might say. That would be a huge mistake on your part. Some of their most beautiful and ambitious songs can be found on their latest Ode To J. Smith album (it is 2009 now) and I have a feeling that it will not be very long for Travis to shower us with more jewels. I am choosing this album The Invisible Band because it contains even more great songs on it that either The Man Who or Ode To J. Smith (obviously that is a matter of personal preference). I hardly ever listen to any Travis album from A to Z. I much prefer to listen to this kind of music as part of my... greater listening experience, by mixing it with things...less accessible. However, some of the most beautiful songs I often hear, I hear when I load my Travis compilation into my cd changer. My favorite songs of Travis are: Before You Were Young, Luv, Side, I Love You Anyways, Turn, The Humpty Dumpty Love Song, Quite Free, Driftwood, Battleships, Chinese Blues, Sing, The Last Laugh Of The Laughter, Safe, Slide Show, Afterglow, Re-Offender, More Than Us, Dear Diary.