Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It

Article

The Man Who

Posted on

The Man Who

type:
Music
Current Status:
In Season
Producers:
Independiente
genre:
Rock

We gave it an A

Travis’ second album opens with the sound of someone — presumably singer and songwriter Fran Healy — gently counting off before the musicians start playing. Given the current, extravagant pop climate, it’s an unexpectedly intimate gesture, and it makes for the perfect introduction to a majestic and very humane collection of post-hangover rock. The Man Who shares a sensibility (and a producer) with Radiohead’s shoe-gazer symphony OK Computer. As on the Radiohead album, the guitars and rhythm section — and the occasional splash of background static — meld into a muted wall of sound. But it’s a wall made of fluffy, inviting cotton. The songs, from ”Writing to Reach You” to the climactic ”Slide Show,” have a smoothly rippling grace; the lulling lament ”Driftwood” is particularly aptly named. Even the guitar solos sound more like forlorn cries for help than pointless displays of virtuosity.

With his disillusioned-choirboy delivery, Healy is very much the epitome of the earnest, sensitive tea sipper. He sneaks in a poke at another hugely popular band of Brits (”The radio is playing all the usual/And what’s a Wonderwall anyway?”). But mostly, he wonders why it always rains on him, and in best mope-rock fashion, he’s either unable to sleep, just waking up, or realizing he always wakes up alone. Released in the quartet’s native Britain a year ago, The Man Who became a deserved sensation. In America, where rock continues to take steroids, it may not make the same impact. But that’s no surprise: Travis kill us with their songs, but softly. A

Comments