Fran Healy is the voice behind the enormous music machine that is Travis and a man who has penned some of musics most iconic and noteworthy releases as well as gaining the Scottish band worldwide acclaim with hits such as Sing, Flowers In The Window, Driftwood and the bands signature track, Why Does It Always Rain On Me. Together the band achieved what every act craves – international recognition.
It’s been a long time since we heard anything from Travis but front-man, principle songwriter and engine of the band, Fran Healy, is now building up to the release of his first solo venture. Wreckorder is Healy’s first outing as a solo act and what else could such a project ask for than a record consisting of nothing but flawless and superbly crafted nuggets of musical gold.
Wreckorder contains ten new songs which form a collection of some of the best pieces of musical artistry that Healy has penned. It’s a record of lyrically well written and well composed gems of indie pop with a couple of impressive collaborations thrown in for good measures.
Legendary Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, shows up in the middle of the album on the amazing track As It Comes. Instead of lending his vocals to the number, McCartney supplies bass to the track. A subtle move on McCartney’s part allowing for the highlight number to remain Healy’s and not be overshadowed in the slightest by the icon. The track also stands out as one of the prominent numbers heard on the record with its catchy and melodic swooning and deep and haunting piano tinkering as well as Healy’s accented vocal delivery..
Another standout on the record comes in the form of the sweeping and soul clenching duet, Sing Me To Sleep.Gracefully sung by both soulful compatriots, the track whispers elegance from start to end. American singer Neko Case applies her sultry tones to the track and sounds perfectly suited to singing alongside the distinctive vocals of Healy.
The spring drenched Buttercups, which has been getting considerable airplay ahead of the album release, is the lead single taken from the record and Healys initial opportunity to entice listeners to taking notice of a juggernaut of a project that is about to spring to life. It does a damn good job at grabbing your attention. Its flower power lyrics and infectious melodic structure are both satisfying and encouraging for those skeptical about this new solo effort. The track is acoustically strong and sun drenched with Healy, vocally, sounding better than ever.
Fly In The Ointment is gorgeous with its intricate string accompaniment. The haunting cello’s married up with the desperate violins give the song an emotive depth and garnish the track with a complimenting dramatic feel.
Anything is a treat for Travis fans as the song stands out as holding the most resemblance to the bands earlier recordings. Healy’s vocals are convincing as they swing from calm and subdued to reach the peaking falsetto highs. The chorus is a remarkable combination of texture laden perfection. An atmospheric gem well worthy of an solo album inclusion.
There is always a slight worry for fans of an artist when they decide to branch off to pursue their solo aspirations. Many disappoint by releasing something far from what we would expect. Wreckorder, fortunately, is no such release. Travis fans wont be disappointed here. Though Healy has approached the release with the vision that this is his album, an achievement to call his own, he doesn’t stray far from the style or sound of the catalogue that have made him the musician that is adored today.
Wreckorder is a superb addition to Fran’s body of work and though there are inflections of change for the vocalist on this solo endevour, Wreckorder could quite easily be a new Travis collection. There is no doubt that the song-smith can pen some pretty tasty pop delicacies. Combine that with a distinctive and untreated voice and Healy’s confident musicianship and you have Wreckorder – a true spectacle of solo efforts for one of the UK’s best loved musical talents.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
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