Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 15 March 2004
Now I used to really like Travis; they were a dirty little secret, the guys who sold out, but still kept a piece of your heart. From the sing-a-long woe of "Why does it always rain on me" to the quiet beauty of "As you are" or "Slideshow". Whatever they did they retained the ability to tug at the heart strings and make you forgive the oh so commercial melodies and lack of invention or innovation. They were a pop band, but a damn fine one. The alert among you will have noticed the frequent use of the word 'were', for Travis have become the latest band to try and 'do a Radiohead'.
New 'serious' songs, about war and wife beating have replaced their traditional ones about love and life. And they're not really very good. "Peace the fuck out" is just plain embarrassing, a demonstration of why no-one but The Clash should write straight up political songs. The Beautiful Occupation is better, almost funky, but still as subtle as a BNP pamphlet. It's nice that Travis have suddenly found they care (after their drummer's near death experience), but the real question is why should we?
When Travis stick to their strengths there are some good songs, but in attempting to diversify they seem to have run out of new melodies, with "Paperclips" very reminiscent of Radiohead's "You never wash up after yourself" and "Somewhere Else" may actually give the Cardigans (Erase and Rewind) grounds for a lawsuit.
This isn't a terrible album, far from it in fact, but in attempting to become serious doom merchant artists, Travis have put themselves up against some very talented bands (Radiohead, Wilco etc.) and fall well short. Stick to pop guys, you're better at it.