Back in 2004, Travis released '12 Memories'; an underrated album which was perhaps a little too understated for all their former fans who cried out for another 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?'. The sure sign of its apparent failure was the release of a greatest hits album, the usual reaction to a drop in record sales. Thankfully this didn't spell the end for the band but 'The Boy With No Name' does seem to signal a crossroads for them; seemingly caught midway between moody mid-paced numbers and whistle-friendly ditties which are inoffensive enough to attract the kind of listener who only buys a few albums a year.
One of their chief crimes is the insubstantial sickly sweet ballad. 'Closer' is unlikely to become quite as omnipresent as the aforementioned 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' but Fran Healy's softly-spoken chorus is a mawkish moment. That said, no other song is quite as irritating . Travis' chief weapon is the hypnotic melodies Andy Dunlop conjures up from his guitar. Whether summery on 'Selfish Jean', delicate and chiming for 'Under The Moonlight' or insistent on '3 Times And You Lose', Dunlop adds a distinctive touch of quality. Elsewhere Neil Primrose's shifting rhythms create a nice intensity for 'Big Chair', 'Eyes Wide Open' contains a smart riff but little else and the rest of the record passes by pleasantly but with few more diverting moments until the penultimate song 'Colder' makes an entrance; on this fine tune Healy's voice sounds at its most genuinely yearning. Still, for a popular band they produce enough credible moments to draw in the serious listeners.