The Man Who
This Scottish quartet scored the biggest-selling British album of 1999 with this disc, and its belated release in the U.S. is a welcome one. The Man Who is a shimmering and sumptuous set of richly textured folk-rock flavors, sparked by the mesmerizing vocals of chief songwriter Fran Healy.
Bright melodies flow through songs like "Driftwood" and the string-backed "Why Does It Always Rain on Me," the latter just one of several tracks where Healy sounds like a curious cross between U2's Bono and Rufus Wainwright — but with a lot more range than Wainwright. The arrangements are masterfully crafted, from the muted guitar solos that eventually explode on "As You Are," to the way in which Healy takes on a sleepy sounding verse before soaring on one of the disc's most unforgettable tracks, "Turn."
Whether this will take off here as big as it did there remains to be seen. But Travis has been hitting the road hard and they've got a most impressive album with which to tour.The Man Who does slip slightly toward the end, but overall, this one is very highly recommended.