Travis - The Boy With No NameThe first album from Fran Healy and the boys in quite a while - and thankfully it’s been worth the wait!

With most albums, after a couple of listens in quick succession then there are one or two tracks which you want to skip - then with further listens you find another couple until you basically end up listening to just the handful of songs which have eventually been released as singles! Since buying this album a couple of days ago, I’ve listened to it right through 7 or 8 times and haven’t skipped a track yet.

A lot has happened to the individuals that make up Travis in the time since the last studio release, and this shows in the subject matter of the songs which make up this album. Fran has become a father and it’s from this feat that the album title has been derived - his son went unnamed for some time as the new parents tried to come up with a name which suited him. As they went on to name him Clay, I’m not sure exactly what that says about him!

My only gripe so far (and nothing to do with the quality of the music or production) is the inclusion of “hidden tracks”. There’s a sticker on the front of the case informing prospective buyers that there are 2 extra tracks not listed on the cover - not exactly hidden then are they!

If they want to include 14 tracks on the UK release then why not just have them on the CD in the normal fashion instead of forcing listeners to fast forward through a few minutes of silence after the 12th and seemingly last song? Then after the 13th song, there’s another few minutes worth of nothing before the 14th and very final song.

Annoyingly, both of the extra songs are worth listening to or it would be tempting to just skip all that palava! Copying the tracks to my PC and then editing in some MP3 software is in order I think…

Listening to the album, it’s actually quite hard to guess which tracks they will choose as singles - the full track listing is as follows :

01. 3 Times & You Lose
02. Selfish Jean
03. Closer
04. Big Chair
05. Battleships
06. Eyes Wide Open
07. My Eyes
08. One Night
09. Under The Moonlight
10. Out In Space
11. Colder
12. New Amsterdam

Closer has already been released, and as this is a slightly slower more downbeat song then I would hope that we have something like Selfish Jean or Colder out next. Both of these tracks are excellently produced and more in keeping with the Travis of old - even before they became the original Coldplay, think U16 Girls etc.

Apart from those two, My Eyes could be a successful choice as a single release or perhaps Big Chair or Eyes Wide Open.

Fans of the band will savour this release and no doubt fall in love with all the songs, but Closer didn’t exactly set the charts alight and it’s hard to see even the album hitting the top spot so perhaps it’ll take more than good reviews and a cracking collection of songs to put Fran, Andy, Dougie and Neil back up where they belong.