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Travelling Band - Sails

  by Keith How

published: 20 / 9 / 2017

Travelling Band - Sails
Label: Sideways Saloon
Format: CD


Polished and confident second album from Manchester-based Americana outfit the Travelling Band

'The Big Defreeze' was released back in 2014 (Is it that long?). Since then Manchester’s the Travelling Band have been around the block once or twice. Band members have departed, new ones have arrived, they lost all their equipment and van which thankfully was returned safely. They have made an excellent new record teeming with ideas and Manchester swagger, a testament to their experiences. 'Sails' is an interesting proposition. My initial response was that the band have moved on from the 'Mancunian Americana' vibe of the first album. 'Sails' is more polished and confident. 'Moments like Switches' is a strong opener. A rhythmic piano holds everything together, while clever use of dynamics keeps you interested. 'Wasted Eyes' follows with great harmonies and a searing guitar. It is an impressive start. Track three 'Into the Water' is lovely with great finger picking and vocal delivery before developing with a surprising introduction of a string section and choir-like vocals. It is progressive and cool. 'Mopping Forward' is a mid-tempo rocker that features pedal steel, violin, horns and some electronic musings in the fade out and seems to reflect the country rock side of their nature. 'Loser' is another sign of a maturing of song writing but also in composition. Again the addition of the melancholic string section is clever. 'Loser' is just the right side of being middle of the road thankfully. The ability to write a real anthemic crowd pleaser is still there and 'Unlike You', with its lovely ringing guitars hinting at their love of indie/grunge, has that chorus we can all clap and sing along to. 'Last Night' is a belligerent rocker. The lyrics are dark and unsettling and the inventive use of dynamics makes this track an absolute crowd pleaser. A Beatles-ish instrumental appears out of nowhere before a gentle piano leads into a sad tale of trouble on 'Failure is a Bastard'. Some strange electronics murmur away in the background. 'Sails' leaves us with 'Leftover Lines', an emotional ballad embellished by a very tasty slide guitar. It is strong tune to finish the record with. The Travelling Band have produced a good album. Songs are strong both lyrically and musically. Performance-wise it is obvious these boys have really honed their craft on the road. 'Sails' is unpredictable and inventive and full of class. In a strange way I was reminded of the rockier parts of the early McCartney albums. No bad thing, eh? Give this a listen. There is much to enjoy.

Track Listing:-
1 Moments Like Switches
2 Wasted Eyes
3 Into the Water
4 Mopping Forwards
5 Loser
6 Unlike You
7 Last Night I Dreamt (of Killing You)
8 Out of the Water
9 Failure is a Bastard
10 Leftover Lines

Band Links:-

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The Big Defreeze (2014)
Upbeat and harmonic rock-influenced third studio album from Manchester-based alternative folk outfit, the Travelling Band
Screaming is Something (2011)
Sundial (2010)

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