It's been two years since the last Travis album; seven, if you measure it since the last one that people noticed. This has created a Travis-like hole in Britain's cultural life.
Holes aren't, to be honest, all that bad. And this is a hole that you really don't mind.
Nevertheless, Fran Healy has decided to try and plug that hole with a solo record. (Yes, it seems that Travis consisted of more than one person.)
There's an excited press release:
Artists such as Coldplay, Noel Gallagher, The Doves and Gomez have cited Healy's sophisticated and atmospheric arrangements as a major influence on their own sound.
Coldplay... well, yes, Coldplay you could believe.
Recorded in Berlin, New York and Vermont, the 10 tracks that make up [the album] are as exceptionally literate as they are emotionally challenging.
Yes. I suspect they will be.
As an idea of how "exceptionally literate" they are, the album is being called Wreckorder. Which is the clumsy sort-of pun that you'd expect from a bunch of 15 year-olds hoping to get a mention in Kerrang, not a "literate" album from a man you're claiming is - oh yes - "a quintessential pop songwriter".
Can you make the album seem even more depressingly assembled-from-mail-order-parts?
features Paul McCartney on bass
That would do it.
The end result is the sound of a songwriter who embodied the spirit of Britpop and continues to artistically evolve.
If he's artistically evolved, why would you need to mention that he embodied the spirit of a music scene that was looking dated fifteen years ago. When humans developed opposable thumbs, I'm pretty certain they dropped banging on about 'now walking on two legs' from their press releases.
Not that Healy did embody Britpop anyway - even Wikipedia just lobs Travis in at the end of a "second wave", which is a polite way of saying 'turned up after closing time in the hope of getting to cop off with people who haven't realised the party is over'.
I'm just wondering, though: could this press release make Healy sound any more like a caricature of himself?
Healy is currently on a North American tour with Keane.
Yes. That would do it.
There is, though, one phrase that will bruise your heart:
The collection of songs includes the Neko Case duet "Sing Me To Sleep" which bounces over warm melodies and a syncopated drum loop.
Neko Case has no business appearing on a song which will be described as "syncopated". Can a drum loop actually be syncopated? Isn't a loop by its very nature the opposite of syncopation?