Published Jan 01, 2006Travis has always been a nice and jovial band. With the success of 1999's The Man Who (featuring the massive, weather-teasing hit "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?") and 2001's The Invisible Band, the little band from Glasgow became everyone's Dr. Feelgood. However, when promotional duties for their last album ended, so did their persona. Drummer Neil Primrose suffered a severe neck injury, threatening the band's future and forcing them to question, well, everything.
Their fourth album, 12 Memories, sees Travis in a whole new light. Giving an honest account of the past two years, the band members opened their eyes and wrote the record based on everything they saw, including the ugly truth. "We live in a time culturally where nobody's saying anything literally," says bassist Dougie Payne. "Even the supposed controversial rap artists are talking about themselves. It's now about self-mythologising and not really looking outward. This really seems like a personal record because it's a person's view, looking inward and outward to the rest of the world, so everything is co-existing."
Covering dicey subjects such as domestic abuse ("Re-Offender") and war ("Peace The Fuck Out," "The Beautiful Occupation"), Travis didn't hold anything back. "An artist's job is to respond to the world," says Payne. "We're not blatantly stating what's wrong and what's right, it's just drawing people's attention to the fact that these things exist."
Though it's quite a different environment from their previous portfolio of perfect pop songs, Payne feels confident about the strength of 12 Memories. "It's the most filled with life' record that we've made because it's got most aspects of life in it: love, loss, politics and education. I also think that until this album we've been boys and it feels like we're men now. And with maturity comes a certain security in who you are and lack of wanting to please people so much and just be more comfortable in your own skin."