Album: Travis

12 Memories, Independiente
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The Independent Culture

Delayed by Neil Primrose's recovery from a broken neck, 12 Memories ought to be Travis's most polished offering yet, its melodies honed to the point where they slip into your psyche almost undetected. Perhaps it's the absence of their former producer, Nigel Godrich, but this time round, the songs don't seem as well-worked. There's certainly nothing here as compelling as "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?", the closest contender being the previously released Gulf War protest number, "The Beautiful Occupation", which best approximates their trademark mellifluous melancholy. Other than that, it's pretty lacklustre: "Re-Offender" is more routine self-pity about a bad relationship; "Paperclips" a glum rejection of an old love; and "Mid-Life Krysis"... well, you can probably figure that out for yourself. Elsewhere, the political protest re-emerges in "Peace the Fuck Out", which surely refers to Blair: "Your words are crooked and you're gonna pay/ In 10 years' time they're gonna say/ That this was the moment when you threw it away." But it's not as memorable a performance as "Quicksand", in which Fran Healy's vocal melody tracks the song's topography of blighted hope through a series of rising pitches brought bathetically to earth at the end of each section. Overall, then, 12 Memories is something of a holding action.