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1/1 and 1/1
1/1 and 1/1
It takes a certain amount of faith for a band often considered pretentious to name an album 10 tracks – and then characterize it as a “radical act.” Scottish rockers Travis did just that, and one would be inclined to agree to listen to frontman Fran Healy.
“Let me get this right, because I’m either going to look like a proper fanny or a genius, or somewhere in between,”Let me get this right, because I’m either going to look like a proper fanny or a genius or somewhere in between.
Healy, 47, is in quarantine after flying in from his adopted home in Los Angeles with his 14-year-old son, Clay.
Before travelling to London for a number of performances to promote the record, he made a stopover in Scotland to visit his mother.
“To say there are 10 songs on the record is a statement,” he says.
Only writing one song these days is a radical act.
“I’d say it’s even a punk move to write one song – because nobody does.”
The ninth album by his band, recorded at RAK Studios in London earlier this year, encapsulates what it means to compose a song in the most classical context.
When songs had “golden era of songwriting” and a “lyrics that spoke to the truth of something” that touched you in a way that other music can’t, Healy sees a “soulfulness” ahead.
But, he argues, these days, real songs are few and far between.
“There are producers who are very cerebral people who usually don’t go deep at all,” he says.
The guys who make the sh*** sound very good are brilliant, technically competent.
And then there are singers coming in and singing about it.
“It all sounds like an album.
You’ve got your radio stations and airwaves packed with stuff that sounds like an album.
“It’s like an album imitation. But this isn’t an album.
“It doesn’t touch me, because I would know and you would know.”
They were thrown into the Britpop crew by a press intrigued by the possibility of Cool Britannia as Travis emerged from Glasgow in the early ’90s.
But to make something friendlier, soulful and, to their detractors, mediocre, the quartet soon turned away from the coarseness of contemporaries like Blur and Oasis.
Why Does It Always Rain on Me? Their second album, The Man Who, contained the Top 10 hits Switch. And Turn.
It contributed to international success, and soft rockers such as Coldplay and Keane were influenced.
On that album and its follow-up, The Invisible Band, Healy penned every song, but in recent years he has allowed other band members to take the reins.
However, 10 songs were recorded, co-produced and Healy’s art directed – and the quality shows.
Over a combination of contemplative piano, classic rock guitar and drums, Healy’s breathed falsetto works magical.
Perhaps it’s the best-sounding album from Travis in a decade, and a welcome counterpoint to the chaos of life in 2020.
On the visual side, by drawing on his iPad for a month before combining the results with footage from his son’s drone, Healy made the animated music video for A Ghost.
He attended the Glasgow School of Art as a teenager, and 10 Songs is evidence that he might have succeeded as an artist had he picked that course.
His pride in his son, whom he shares with the former makeup artist and German photographer Nora Kryst, is also evident.
He was brilliant,”He was brilliant and it turned out great,”and it turned out great.
“We handed it over to the people who were editing and coloring it, and they said, ‘Who shot this?’ and I said, ‘Oh, my son,’ and they said, ‘What?’
“He turned 14 just now. Finally, I will let him get to work.
Time spent in the United States made Healy focus on his friendship with the United Kingdom.
He lives near Laurel Canyon, an area in the Hollywood Hills known as the home of folk stars like Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash – both of whom Healy cited as influences.
It’s obvious he has a love-hate relationship with both America and the state of California.
“California is beautiful, but it’s not the liberal Valhalla they think you are,” he says with a sharp laugh.
“You have 70,000 homeless people and people who are so obscenely rich that they drive ridiculous cars past people. And no one is helping anyone.
“I actually didn’t miss the UK at all until I went to live in America. We take it a