If you’re looking for quirky, then you’ve come to the right place. Since 2008 The Travelling Band have been delivering blends of alternative and folk to our ears, and their sound only matures with time. It’s been three years since their last album Screaming Is Something, but during this time they’ve been working on ways to take their sound to the next level. Behold their latest offering, The Big Defreeze, which is a fusion of folk, pop and rock n’ roll. Full of catchy choruses and sing-a-long verses, the British band’s third album is sure to be a hit with fans.
What The Travelling Band have going for them is their trademark cheery sound. They’re especially creative with their production, and this can be noted with their first track, Passing Ships. It’s a gleaming and glorious opener that slowly builds up in texture, starting with acapella, piano and then strings. The whole effect is very cinematic and rather inspiring – the strings especially, giving off a romantic vibe. Lead singer Jo Dudderidge has a wonderfully playful tone; it’s always pleasing to listen to an artist having fun with their track. It’s a fast paced and exciting track to kick off the album, and it leaves you hanging for more.
Garbo is an equally kooky track, characterised by synth keyboards and it’s somewhat jazzy beat. The harmonies accompanying Dudderidge gives off a richer and fuller vibe, and somehow lifts the track to an even cheerier mood. The lyrics also play a big part in contributing to the album’s quirkiness – in 25 Hours, the singer croons “like a sunrise in slow motion, i’m hanging above the ocean, counting all the shipwrecks in my way”; such clever lyrical content is what makes The Travelling Band unique in style. But while it’s fun, the song itself is rather bland, lacking melodic variety in what could’ve been a stellar track. Unfortunately, this is a case for a few of the tracks, a lot of them repeating the same dull melody over exceptional productions. We hear elements of various genres in every track – from synth pop to folk, a twang of country and traditional rock ‘n roll. Quicksand falls into the latter category, its uneven rhythm giving off a grungier vibe. The gloomier Borrowed and Blue slows things down a little, the singer’s voice dripping with emotion. But to our surprise, what we thought would be a sulky chiller suddenly grows in pace and volume, the whole track peaking with drums, guitars and crashing pianos.
They have a knack for transforming a glum song into something not-so-sad. Take Sticks and Stones, which could potentially be an anthem for anybody having an off day. As they bluntly put it, “the world has gone to sh*t, and everything you’ve done is wrong.” With its walking-pace rhythm and sombre wailing, it’s definite depressing. Despite this, they still manage to sound kooky – especially at the key change on the last minute, which really lifts the mood even if it unintentionally did so.
It’s a strong comeback from The Travelling Band, and their album has plenty of catchy hooks and sing-a-long verses. There’s a delightful array of genres displayed in the production of each track; the vocal melodies, however, could do with a bit more variety. But if it’s quirky they’re after, they’ve achieved it – every song is unique and chipper, even when it’s not meant to be. If you want to be cheered up then by all means – grab yourself a copy of The Big Defreeze. It’ll have you smiling and swaying before you even know it.