Matt Brundage

First impressions of The Boy With No Name

Medium Image Travis released their fifth studio album a couple months ago; it was only a matter of time before it found its way into my living room. From the beginning, I had a good feeling about the album, as it was produced by Nigel Godrich — the man who also influenced the sound on The Man Who and The Invisible Band.

Their previous album, 2003’s 12 Memories, can be seen as an aberration — it was more or less self-produced and was overtly experimental and political at times. The Boy With No Name finds Travis sailing into safer waters, both stylistically and lyrically. While inferior to The Man Who, TBWNN excels, thanks to expert work by guitarist Andy Dunlop. Listen to his imprint on “Selfish Jean.” The song is pleasing in and of itself, but sticks out like a sore thumb as the second track. It would have been more at home after “My Eyes”, Fran Healy’s tribute to his newborn son, Clay.

“3 Times and You Lose” is possibly the standout track. It’s similar to some of the better songs on The Man Who and makes for a solid lead track. “Sailing Away” is also quite strong, but is hidden as a bonus track, tucked away at the end of “New Amsterdam.”

2 Responses to “First impressions of The Boy With No Name”

  1. William says:

    Wondering if you got the new Pumpkins album yet and what your thoughts are. I’ve only heard it about once all the way through so far and it’s ok, but I’m not wholly impressed thus far.

  2. No, I haven’t picked it up yet, nor have I heard it all the way through. When I was younger, I found that I had to have new releases “now! now! now!” I remember going to Tower Records and waiting in line at midnight for Weezer’s 2001 comeback album, and then again the following year for Maladroit. Now, with so many MP3s floating around, buying an album has — dare I say this — almost become anti-climactic. I’m also not sure which version of the album to buy. There are quite a few from which to choose.

    For me, Pumpkins, and by extension, Corgan, are top-tier artists. As such, I have a predilection toward purchasing their music that isn’t influenced by mediocre reviews. I’ve heard that there is a strong “alternative metal” influence on the album, but on the bright side, it was co-produced by Pantera’s producer and rocks harder than any previous Pumpkins album. If even a third of the songs are on par with “Tarantula”, I will be happy.