“Dear diary, what is wrong with me?” Francis Healy stammers on the second track of Travis’s third album, The Invisible Band. In many ways, Travis satisfies a popular need in the absence of the Radiohead of yesteryear. Of course, Healy doesn’t possess Thom Yorke’s rough edges, but who needs edge when you’ve got the most euphonious melodies in the land? Call it post-Britpop for the post-Millenium Beatles revival. Tracks like the banjo-infused “Flowers in the Window” recall the wispy splendor of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” The dreamy “Sing” crashes like waves through the air, while “The Cage” is ethereal and poetic: “You broke my soul, dear/You stole the plot…To keep her caged would just delay the spring.” Invisible doesn’t stray much from the delicate poignancy of last year’s breakthrough The Man Who but with several tracks explicitly dedicated to the soon-to-be-immortalized Nora, the album is imbued with newly-fallen love. And while most of the album is light and airy, it’s often shrouded in a gloomy sadness that might explain many of the Radiohead parallels (“Time exists but just on your wrist, so don’t panic”). But even the rage of the track “Last Train” is wrapped in lovely; you don’t ever want it to end.
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