Independiente - 2001 - 45 minutes
You know you've got too much time on your hands when you make a point of reading the thanks list on an album, but if you overlooked Travis' you'd miss an acknowledgement that captures their entire appeal: "to you for getting this record. These songs belong to you now".
There is no fuss about Travis, their 'here we are, here are the songs, they'll fit on one side of a tape, thank you' ethos has made them the outfit of choice for people who have no interest in the next big thing but just want something they can hum in the car.
1999's breakthrough album 'The Man Who' showcased their talent for gentle introspection and an everlasting chorus, and like its quieter twin, 'The Invisible Band' continues the pattern of soul searching and singalongs. There are no dramatic departures - with an eye on the charts and an ear on everyman's heartbeat - singer Fran Healy is still fighting the battle between getting out of bed and staying put. The lifts and lulls of 'Flowers In The Window' and 'Follow The Light' produce more day-in, day-out anthems for life in a cul-de-sac.
While it's easy to poke fun at the tweedy sentiments behind the album's standout tracks 'Safe' (The Eagles after tea and sympathy) and 'Humpty Dumpty...' (boy loses girl but finds an orchestra), there's something refreshing about a band who see themselves as smaller than their songs and are earnest without assuming that they're on a mission to save the planet.
'The Invisible Band' won't change your world but it should go some way to making the next tailback more tolerable.
Tracklisting: Sing - Dear Diary - Side - Pipe Dreams - Flowers In The Window - The Cage - Safe - Follow The Light - Last Train - Afterglow - Indefinitely - The Humpty Dumpty Love Song