Ode to J. Smith - Inpendiente 2008

Tracks: 1. Chinese Blues / 2. J. Smith / 3. Something Anything / 4. Long Way Down / 5. Broken Mirror / 6. Last Words / 7. Quite Free / 8. Get Up / 9. Friends / 10. Song to Self / 11. Before You Were Young


Without being really raw or hard rocking this album is undoubtedly Travis least polished since the debut of "Good Feeling" in 1997.

The soft ballads are almost entirely absent and you have to go right up to the fifth track, "Broken Mirror" to find anything resembling "The Man Who" or "The Invisible Band - "Broken Mirror "is in fact one of the album's finest numbers - probably not without inspiration from Radiohead. There are other catchy and melodic tracks such as the Coldplay-like "Quite Free" and "Friends" - two numbers which for me to hear would have been good choices for singles. But perhaps to stick to a new approach, the three singles were all chosen among the more hard-rocking songs.

Initially most of the numbers might appear a little ordinary, but after a couple of listenings you discover qualities in most tracks. Besides the already mentioned tracks, I will highlight the opening track "Chinese Blues" and "Long Way Down"; both good examples of songs that win on closer acquaintance.

All in all a refreshing album from Travis, where they show here that they are more than just a soft ballad band.

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