Though their acclaimed sophomore album has yet to be released stateside, the Scottish foursome known as Travis is already creating a stir in the U.S.
The group’s latest Epic Records album, The Man Who, was certified double-platinum in the U.K., where it has remained in the Top 20 since May. Far removed from the bombast sounds of American alterna-rock, , The Man Whois a soulful, dreamy recording reminiscent of Pink Floyd and The Smiths. The disc has catapulted Travis into the pantheon of contemporary U.K. rock icons that includes Oasis, Radiohead and Blur.
Now pundits are wondering if Travis can replicate their U.K. success in America. Epic Records has bumped the stateside release of The Man Who to April 2000, reportedly to give the band and the label more time to prepare a promotional blitz.
If advance critical response is any indication, then , The Man Who stands a good chance of being a breakthrough recording. In its Jan./Feb. issue, Gear magazine named the album “Record of the Month,” describing the band as “the last lonely romantics in town.” The magazine went on to praise singer Fran Healy and his “warming, seductive songwriting and vocals.”
Healy, guitarist Andy Dunlop and bassist Dougie Payne formed around Glasgow’s Horseshoe Bar, where drummer Neil Primrose worked and the others drank. The quartet scored a publishing deal with Sony in 1996 and relocated south of London. The band’s 1997 debut album, Good Feeling, shot straight to the U.K. Top 10, resulting opening tour slots for Oasis and Catatonia.
Though the band recently performed benefits for the Kosovo relief effort and the U.K.-based Campaign for a Living Wage, Travis show no interest in becoming proselytizing rock stars. “Selling 100,000 records, in my opinion, gives you a very small soapbox to stand on,” Healy told England’s Melody Maker magazine. “To be honest, when bands start talking about issues I always feel patronized. I don’t want to patronize anyone.”