#LPLOVE: ‘The Invisible Band’ by Travis
The first-ever vinyl reissue of the Scottish rockers’ 2001 album makes for enjoyable, all-encompassing listening experience
On the 20th anniversary of Travis’ third studio album, The Invisible Band, the first-ever reissue of the vinyl is being released. The multi-platinum album that spawned numerous hits across the globe has been remastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer Emily Lazar.
By 1999, Travis had already reached success with their sophomore album The Man Who, which included such hits as “Driftwood,” “Turn” and “Why Does It Always Rain On Me.”
With The Invisible Band , the Scottish rockers cemented their status as one of the most prominent and influential bands at the start of the millennium alongside Coldplay. Of course, unlike Chris Martin, band frontman Fran Healy was already aware that he was not the center of attention, the music was. The album’s title actually references the very fact that the band was content being known for their music rather than for themselves.
The album received acclaim from critics and was a commercial hit staying at Number One in the U.K. for four weeks and going on to become one of the bestsellers of the decade. Healy was particularly praised for the lyrical content of the album which felt more insightful than many of their contemporaries. They released three singles, “Sing,” “Side,” and “Flowers In The Window” – all which became hits for the band.
“Sing” was the first single released from the set. The song was immediately lauded for its joyous folksy feel, thanks to the prominent featuring of the banjo throughout the pop hit (great guitar work from Andy Dunlop). The single was a great introduction to the album, landing the band their first Top 5 single in their native U.K. while also hitting the Top 10 across Europe and even charting in the Top 20 at Alternative Rock in the U.S.
“Side” followed and while somewhat criticized for its clichéd lyrics, the melancholic feel of the single – a slight departure for the band – made for an enjoyable listen, albeit a bit Beatles-esque in nature. The song charted well, though unable to replicate the success of “Sing.”
The final single released from the album, “Flowers In The Window,” was actually crafted well before even The Man Who. Ironically, the song actually was co-written by Paul McCartney himself. While uncredited on the sleeve, Healy claimed in an interview that Beatle helped them finish the song after they played him the unfinished track. The song marked the band’s third straight Top 20 hit in the U.K., cementing a most successful era for the band.
The Invisible Band went on to sell as much as The Man Who, proving that Travis was a band to be reckoned with. Much as they wished, they continued to be known for their craft rather than their personalities. Unfortunately, because of this, many of their best songs actually remain album treasures.
While the released singles had personality, they didn’t necessarily give the full Travis picture. “Pipe Dreams,” “The Last Train” and “Follow The Light” are the real standouts of the album and on vinyl, they sound warmer and shine ever so bright.
The band never quite captured the same level of success again, particularly in the U.S., after The Invisible Band. While they’ve gone on to create more memorable tracks over the years and some critically acclaimed albums, The Invisible Band was the perfect combination of hit singles and stellar album cuts with top-rate production and lyrics. It makes for a truly enjoyable, all-encompassing experience that absolutely deserves to be enjoyed and loved, now on vinyl.