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Reviews 18/10/2003

Album Of The Week

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Gillingham, Kent, UK (By Mikey) - Each week I preview an album which I think deserves a listen to and if it's worth to buy, I will cater for all tastes of music from R'n'B to Rock, Hip hop and Pop. At the end of the page, you will find all future album releases. I must apologise for the album review, which should have been Blondie's album this weekend, but their album is re-scheduled for 27th October.

Travis - Twelve Memories
Release Date: 13 October, 2003

The Travis philosophy of, "Never mind the singer, listen to the song," is an admirable one, especially at a time when image is deemed to be so much more important than content. This, the band's fourth album, certainly speaks for itself, boasting a handful of songs that are among the best tracks they've ever recorded.

With their expansive melodies, effortless harmonic invention and lyrical opacity, Quicksand and How Many Hearts are strongly reminiscent of Ray Davies or XTC at the top of their game - yes, they're that good.

Equally impressive is Beautiful Occupation, one of two songs that train their sights on Tony Blair's Iraq adventure, the other being the rather more mundane Peace The Fuck Out. Political comment, however admirable, is fine when wedded to a timeless melody and thoughtful lyrics, as in the former song, but rather less so when it descends to the banal name-calling of the latter.

Fran Healy and colleagues are on rather safer ground with The Smiths-like single Re-Offender, clearly designed for those lighter-in-the-air stadium moments, as is Love Will Come Through, although the latter fails to fully take flight. In contrast, Paperclips is a low-key, sparse ballad, whose strangely unsettling countenance is enhanced by an angular clarinet solo and the sound of a dog whimpering.

Rather less successful are the clunky Mid-Life Krysis and Happy To Hang Around, while Walking Down The Hill veers uneasily into the miserabilist territory that's already been thoroughly staked out by Radiohead. It, and the second half of the album, is redeemed by the beautiful Some Sad Song, which is mystifyingly tucked away at the end as a "surprise" track. (Go to 4 minutes 30 on track 11 and you'll find it).

'The Invisible Band' from last time had continued what they did very well. Great melodies, splendid harmonies, and a na´ve charm. Their tunesmanship had already reached dizzy proportions and they were faced with the tough pickle of how to further hone their craft to move forward. Then drummer Neil Primrose had his horrific swimming pool accident a year ago, which forced the band to re-evaluate who they were - and even if they wanted to continue at all. That a different Travis would emerge was probably inevitable, but the depth to their soul-searching has never been more disturbing, or impressive in its intensity.

On the strength of this offering, more bands should probe their dark alter ego. The Travis flip side has reaffirmed that even at the top of the pop tree, a change of spots in the face of adversity can bring out the best that probably even they didn't realize they had in them.

The production is clean and uncluttered, with just the right amount of ornamentation (such as the lovely cello part on Quicksand) and, what's more, at a shade over 43 minutes, 12 Memories certainly doesn't outstay its welcome. How many albums can you say that about these days?
8/10

Tracklisting

01 Quicksand
02 The Beautiful Occupation
03 Re-Offender
04 Peace the F*** Out
05 How Many Hearts
06 Paperclips
07 Somewhere Else
08 Love Will Come Through
09 Mid-Life Krysis
10 Happy To Hang Around
11 Walking Down The Hill
12 Some Sad Song (Hidden Track)
NEXT REVIEW: Texas - Careful What You Wish For

Album Release Schedule

October 27
The Beautiful South - Gaze
Blondie - The Curse of Blondie
Hilary Duff - Metamorphosis
Sophie Ellis Bextor - Shoot From The Hip
Stacie Orrico - Stacie Orrico
REM - In Time: The Best Of REM 1988-2003
Sugababes - Three
Various Artists - Now Dance 2004
Various Artists - The Best Bands 2004

November 3
Blue - Guilty
Bon Jovi - This Left Feels Right
Liberty X - Being Somebody
Primal Scream - Dirty Hits
LeAnn Rimes - The Very Best Of
David Sneddon - Seven Years, Ten Weeks
Underworld - Anthology: 1992-2002

November 10
Atomic Kitten - Ladies' Night
Coldplay - Cold play Live 2003
Mark Owen - InYour Own Time
Pink - Try This
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Greatest Hits
Various Artists - Capital Gold Rock & Roll Legends

November 17
Blazin' Squad - Now Or Never
Busted - A Present For Everyone
Michael Jackson - Ones
Ronan Keating - Turn It On
Kylie Minogue - Body Language
Cliff Richard - Cliff At Christmas
Britney Spears - In The Zone
Various Artists - Now That's What I Call Music! 56

November 24
Nelly Furtado - Folklore
Enrique Iglesias - Seven
Javine - Surrender
Lemar - Dedicated
Alex Parks - Introduction To Me
Pet Shop Boys - Pop Art (1985 - 2003)
Westlife - Turn Around

December 1
Alicia Keys - The Diary Of Alicia Keys
Will Young - Friday's Child







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