Their stadium-indie sound is more variegated on this follow-up, on which Mikel Jollett reflects on death and change. "We grow old all at once, and it comes like a punch in the gut," he notes on the galloping, U2-style title track, while the simple "The Graveyard Near The House" is a touching love song. In between are burly rockabilly depictions of Jollett's troubled family, stadium anthems of chugging sincerity, and less appealingly, a song about the bombing of that Afghan wedding party featuring some ghastly prog-rock keyboards. Overall, it treads an uncertain line between bombast and sensitivity.
Over the span of almost three decades, Scottish indie rock stalwarts Travis have persevered, both holding faithful to the sound that they helped break into the U.K. mainstream in the '90s and rocking long enough to watch their sonic progeny spread their wings and fly off in various artistic directions (see: Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol). And through it all, Travis remained reliable, seldom veering too far from the center. On their eighth album, Everything at Once – a long-form commentary on modern life in the 21st century – they revive familiar sounds and also push themselves into more cheerful and unencumbered directions.
Captain Ambrose comes from a long line of distinguished sailors…but is all too susceptible to seasickness. After the war, he buys himself a nautical command on shore; a decrepit amusement pier at the British resort town Sandcastle-on-Sea, whose prim town council has outlawed arcade games as a form of gambling! Running the pier like a naval vessel, the captain's determination to make it a modern, going concern meets steady opposition. But with an unexpected new ally, he pursues a remarkable scheme to liberate his "ship" from land authorities…
Timothy Spall and his wife Shane are back on board their beloved barge the Princess Matilda as they conclude their trip around the British coast.