Music's a fickle business. One minute you're being lauded as the rightful progeny of Jeff Buckley, the next you're being roundly slated. Travis have sold bucketloads of records four-and-a-half-million to be exact yet their immense popularity hasn't shielded them from accusations of complacency and, worse still, mediocrity.
It's true that, if things were as they should be, Travis would have only sold a couple of hundred thousand records by now. If they had done, then perhaps they'd be setting their sights a little higher now. But, as their forthcoming album The Invisible Man attests, Travis have absolutely nothing to prove. With a little help from Radiohead, they have hit upon a winning formula subdued melodies, emotionally charged lyrics, wearily soulful vocals and they're sticking to it.
Their lyrics certainly haven't moved forward much. The new single's chorus "Sing, sing, sing, sing, sing'' can only have been inspired by their last hit which went "Turn, turn, turn, turn, turn'', a fact which doesn't go unnoticed by some of the night's affectionately guffawing crowd.
As far as personality goes, Travis are also far removed from traditional notions of the successful rock band, and I don't just mean that they're nice. The singer, Fran Healey, is recognisable at least for his Tintin-turned-Sid Vicious haircut but I can't be the only one who couldn't pick the remaining members of the band out of a line-up.
Still, the audience lapped them up, particularly when it comes to those sing-along numbers "Writing to Reach You'' and "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?'' the latter of which prompts an eruption of synchronised po-going. Healey, looking smaller than ever beneath that huge acoustic guitar, puts his all into it and maintains a near-constant expression of astonishment on his face.
There are times, though, such as during "Dear Diary'', a song which lacks the customary big chorus, when they are easily ignored. Aside from "Sing'', tracks from the new album pass by uneventfully, though you know that they'll be well-worn anthems before the month is out.Reuse content