Pop: He's miserable and it's heaven
THERE WAS a time when Travis's Fran Healy was content. Indeed, sometimes he was so overcome with joy that, according to "Good Feeling", you would occasionally have to scrape him off the ceiling. But Healy has found a dark side. Far from the "I'm so happy 'cos you're so happy" sentiments of their debut LP, he is now more concerned with why it always rains on him and where his childhood naivety has disappeared to. Fittingly, Travis's second album, The Man Who..., is named after a psychological study of schizophrenia.
To look at, Healy is an unlikely candidate to pick up the miserablist baton. His youthful good looks, gleaming teeth and rosy cheeks afford him more the appearance of a recalcitrant schoolboy than of a grizzled old cynic, while the rest of the band are Identikit Britpoppers with their basin hairdos. But it was Healy's dual personality that won us over at Cambridge.
During the soaring, weepy "Writing to Reach You" and "Fear" his vocals reached such heights of dolefulness that you wanted to call for a therapist. In contrast, during "U16 Girls" and "The Line is Fine" he was the consummate rock musician, roughening his voice into a Waits-like growl and imbuing each line with a filthy swagger.
Granted, Travis's dispirited moments are sometimes too close to Radiohead for comfort and Healy's change of heart may have seemed abrupt in the eyes of his detractors, but it has shed glorious new light on both his vocal potential and his songwriting skills. New songs came across as intelligent and touching, if a little earnest, and the old ones seemed less irritating than I remember.
The only disappointment was the monitors lined up across the stage - de rigueur for gigs these days - displaying moving eyeballs, graphic equalisers and other irrelevant nonsense. If Travis insist on such superfluities, they would have been better showing The Man with Two Brains.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
'Phallic symbols' found hidden in famous Pre-Raphaelite painting 'Isabella' by John Everett Millais
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Freddie Prinze Jr on 24: 'Kiefer Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world – I hated every moment of it'
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer unveiled at Comic-Con
How did our legends really begin?
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
- < Previous
- Next >