Release Date: Oct 5, 2010
Record label: Rykodisc
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The blue-eyed frontman of Travis might be somewhat discontent with the many Travis references used when describing his new solo album Wreckorder, so here it will only be mentioned once: It sounds like Travis. Period. Sure, the sound is still post-Britpop, but Fran Healy isn’t turning any corners or wrecking any orders here. However, the effortless craftsmanship and wide range on Wreckorder’s ten tracks somehow work to perfection.
It has been 13 years since Travis’ debut album, but frontman Fran Healy just now decided to strike out on his own. And since Healy’s singer/songwriter status has been the focal point of Travis this whole time, his debut solo album Wreckorder is bound to sound a little bit like his band. But the pleasant surprise is that some of it doesn’t. A very lean album with 10 songs clocking in under 35 minutes, Wreckorder dishes out musical comfort food and tame experimentation in equal measure.
The first solo effort from Travis frontman Fran Healy, Wreckorder is a soft, moody, and introspective affair that draws upon Healy's taste for melodic singer/songwriter pop and alt-folk. Hewing closest to the darker, less radio-friendly aspects of Travis' catalog, Wreckorder may be a bit of a challenge to fans hoping for something along the lines of such catchy Travis songs as "Sing" and "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" That said, there are certainly some standout moments here, including Healy's duet with Canadian chanteuse Neko Case on "Sing Me to Sleep," the brooding, rolling anthem "Shadow Boxing," and Sir Paul McCartney's bass-playing cameo on the wry, tango-meets-reggae ballad "As It Comes. " Healy's yearning, earthy croon is well intact here, and although he doesn't try to upstage his main band's act, longtime Travis fans and anybody in the mood for heartfelt, smartly crafted folk-pop should find much to enjoy on Wreckorder.
For every successful band there’s a marketable lead singer looking to put his or her name in lights with an offshoot solo project. And these endeavors essentially give rise to more docile and placid renderings of the artist’s erstwhile sounds. This is his or her chance to showcase vocal talent while leaving any scene-stealing guitar solos on the cutting-room floor, nourishing the vanity of that narcissistic beast that is the frontman or frontwoman.
Travis man’s solo debut might evoke his past, but it’s not one he needs to escape. Fraser McAlpine 2010 Let’s get the shock news out of the way first: a lot of this album does sound like Travis. Actually, you’d be mad to think that it wouldn’t, as the sound of that band is so intimately connected to Fran Healy, his mournful songs and plaintive wail.