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[Off The Record]
Stars graphics
Travis
THE INVISIBLE BAND
(EPIC)

Well, these four melancholy Scots may be overstating their case a bit with the title of their third album. Sure, they might feel invisible here in the US, where the album that made them stars in Britain ó 1999ís The Man Who (Epic) ó never achieved the breakthrough that Coldplay have with a sound that isnít all that different from Travisís. Spin even picked Travis as one of the " most underrated " bands of 2000. But thatís just how it is for Britpop in this, the era of aggro rap rock and nü-metal. And itís not as if The Invisible Band made any concessions to American audiences ó if anything, itís more preciously Britpop than The Man Who, an album that featured a very pretty, very Morrissey song called " Why Does It Always Rain on Me? "

The opening track and first single, " Sing, " urges a certain Nora to " Sing, sing, sing, sing/For the love you bring wonít mean a thing/Unless you sing, sing, sing, sing. " And no, it doesnít appear that frontman Fran Healyís kidding. In " Dear Diary " he asks, " Whatís wrong with me " ; in " Flowers in the Window " he again serenades Nora, this time with the refrain " I love you so letís watch the flowers grow. " Fortunately, Healy sings real nice in his best Radioheaded falsetto, and his bandmates come across with enough folkishly pop hooks (think late-í80s R.E.M.) to offset the occasional Hallmark moment.

(Travis open for Dido this Sunday, June 24, at the Tweeter Center. Call 617-931-2000.)

BY MATT ASHARE

Issue Date: June 21 - 28, 2001





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