- 25 Apr 01
Peter Murphy chills out with TRAVIS
What an ephemeral notion is Cool. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word in primarily unflattering terms: “unexcited”, “calm”, “unemotional”, “lacking zeal”, “lukewarm” – hardly qualities any self respecting rock ‘n’ roll band would covet.
And Travis are perhaps the epitome of uncool, but unrepentantly rather than terminally so. It makes sense that they named themselves not after psycho poster boy Mr Bickle from Taxi Driver, but the shambling Travis of Paris Texas, a man so wounded by love he quit talking for a couple of years and went zig-zag wandering along the Mexican border.
But why Travis the band should remain so unfashionable is a matter for endless conjecture. After all, for about five minutes after the release of their debut album Good Feeling in September 1997, they enjoyed a brief honeymoon with the tastemakers of the rock press. Here was a quartet who, like their countrymen Teenage Fanclub, wrote songs that positively welled up with melody, harmony and warmth, drawing on a time honoured tradition of B-bands (Byrds, Big Star, Beatles, Buffalo Springfield). Except where the Fanclub could boast endorsements from the likes of Kurt Cobain and Nick Hornby, no self-respecting hipper-than-thou would touch Travis with a bargepole.