You have to feel sorry for Travis. No, really.
You see, while they were busy putting together their defining opus The Man Who almost a decade ago, they were also creating an even bigger monster that would eventually grow wildly out of their control and swallow them up with its mushroom vol-au-vents and aubergine canapés.
Yep, put your hands together for the patron saints of blandrock; the initial arbiters of watered-down, Radio 2-friendly (when Radio 2 really was exclusively for the over-50s) pop-rock that’s more appropriate at dinner parties and office soirees than any pre-club night indie disco you care to mention.
Granted, it's not exactly the fault of Fran Healy and his bandmates that the likes of Coldplay, James Blunt, Dido and a million and one other unsavoury middle-class bores from sweet suburbia would sell millions of records worldwide on the back of their legacy, but it has to be recognised that they opened the doors. If the truth be known, their absence suggested that maybe they've found their careers lay elsewhere, in the portering industry perhaps. Who knows?
To be fair, they have also been responsible for some of the past decade's most timeless pop songs, but anyone expecting a 'U16 Girls, 'Driftwood' or even 'The Beautiful Occupation' is going to be slightly underwhelmed by the overall content of The Boy With No Name.
Although not strictly a bad record - as in the melodies do flow, tunes have been constructed, and everything fits together quite comfortably - the severe lack of any surprises, liveliness and, frankly, new ideas (especially this) means that The Boy With No Name sounds like just another record by any one of the aforementioned coattail-riders.
For a band with such a legacy, and a pre-millennium back catalogue to die for (the late ‘90s were an arid time folks, trust me), this record feels hollow and uninspiring. The Boy With No Name evidently advocates how Travis' sell-by date expired many, many moons ago.
4Dom Gourlay's Score