Appropriately, Ten Songs by Travis marks the Glaswegian band’s tenth studio album. Keeping with Travis tradition, the album showcases the recordings of a very tight band, where all the elements can be distinctly heard, but synergise to make a pleasing sonic experience.
Waving At The Window gets the album off to a fantastic start, with an encapsulating drum beat and a persistent piano refrain, juxtaposed with higher-register piano melodies. This foundation gives the song strong life, while frontman Fran Healy’s singing and lyrics have a more reserved melancholic feel.
Track two; The Only Thing, is a nice, catchy ditty, with Susanna Hoff’s (of Bangles fame) guest vocals providing a lovely, bright flavour to the duet. However, this track is not for me, as it seems to stem the flow of the album initially promised by the opening track. Any dip in the listener’s focus is quickly restored however, with the offputtingly sloppy intro guitar riff and stark opening lyric ‘If I lie here, I might die here’ drawing you into Valentine, before you are struck by an overdriven and fuzzy guitar lick and a pounding drum beat that reminds me of Royal Blood, with background vocals providing a sense of grandeur.
That A Ghost is the lead single for the album is predictable. Classic Travis melodies and a sense of urgency provided by Neil Primrose’s drumming makes it clear this track will get a lot of radio play. In line with album tradition, track five (A Million Hearts) is a beautiful ballad that will find you staring out the window, reminiscing about lost loves. With an intro you could imagine The Lumineers being proud of, All Fall Down provides evidence to the claim that the simple love songs are the best.
No Love Lost is a perfect closing song, with the piano taking centre stage. Beautiful arpeggios accompany Healy, who demonstrates his vocal dexterity, transitioning in and out of different registers with ease.
Although not one I would personally have on repeat, Ten Songs by Travis is an album I would definitely put on the record player if I needed to soothe my soul.