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The Man Who [EXTRA TRACKS], Travis
The Man Who [EXTRA TRACKS], Travis

As much as one would like to resist the temptation, it is impossible to avoid drawing comparisons between Travis's latest and Radiohead. The Man Who is a great album that stands strong on its own merits and a simple comparison threatens to cheapen it. However, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this release should make Radiohead feel damn good about themselves. The Glaswegian group summons the same tortured spirits, but what's absent is the insipid Orwellian undertones that make Radiohead's OK Computer so disturbing and difficult. Travis's singer, Fran Healy, strains and soars in a Thom Yorke fashion, minus the maniacal, slightly salivated exasperation. And musically, there are some nearly uplifting moments. The wonderful, circular rhythms and lilting vocals in "Driftwood" are as celebratory as a James song and the sitar-tinged "The Last Laugh of the Laughter" is so sweetly sad, its beauty overrides its sentiment. "Why Does It Always Rain on Me" builds on the swelling momentum of great classic pop (and, as a matter of fact, shuffles along the same downbeat as "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head "--an inadvertent irony that should suit the band just fine). The Man Who is a highly recommended break from the Brit-rock pack.

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