I continue to ‘date’ myself the longer I continue doing reviews on this site. Do you remember such 90’s radio gems as ‘All I Wanna Do is Rock,’ ‘Tied to the 90’s,’ ‘Why Does it Always Rain on Me,’ or ‘Sing?’ If you do then you’re in for a pleasant surprise because THAT band is back with a brand new album that takes all of those great moments in the band’s early history and carries on the legacy that began with the first three albums the band released. While not intentionally trying to take anything away from the three albums in-between that Travis followed with, Where You Stand is a fine return to form. It’s chock full of gems reminiscent of the sound the band gained traction with.
The album starts off with the oddly titled ‘Mother,’ – it’s a great album starter as it begins with a lazy acoustic strum and Fran Healy’s signature voice and a lilting falsetto until the drums and full band kick in. It actually sounds like a tune that could have been on the soundtrack for 1998’s Velvet Goldmine as it has a late 70’s British vibe to it and the refrain ‘Why did we wait so long?’
From there, we’re welcomed back to the classic Travis sound and their bread and butter on the track ‘Moving.’ An ode to finding home wherever you are, the video treatment for it is below and it’s a nifty little piece:
Following ‘Moving,’ the hits keep coming as ‘Reminder,’ strolls in with a hum-able whistling intro. It’s a series of sage adages rolled up in a simple tune. I love the line: ‘All of the dates that you were late for/all of the rounds you should’ve paid for…’ You’ll be tapping your foot in tune with the beat on this one for sure.
The album’s namesake and first single ‘Where You Stand,’ is up next and it’s a romantic ‘stand at attention,’ tune that proclaims ‘I’ll forfeit my time/and wait while/you make up your mind/to tell me/if you ever find your flame/cause I will be right by you/where you stand…” It marches passionately along Healy’s piano and a steady rhythm.
‘Warning Sign,’ starts with an almost western guitar line. As it progresses, it’s completely in line with anything off of 2001’s The Invisible Band as Dougie Payne on bass leads the charge. Likewise, ‘Another Guy,’ a cathartic jilted love song follows and completely maintains the vibe.
The back half of the album, with the exception of the philosophical cut ‘Boxes,’ and it’s take on mortality, or the pleasantly bouncy ‘New Shoes,’ — is fairly non-descript. That being said, it’s a pleasant Sunday morning or road trip set of tunes.
The bottom line is that Travis is back with a set of nostalgic tunes that bring me back a good 10-12 years. As far as comeback albums go, this one’s top of the pops!