Fran Healy: Wreckorder

This CD was high on my priority of CDs to review this week and I could for the life of me not remember why. Looking at the CD, I was thinking “why do I want to review the debut album by someone named Fran Healy so badly?” I had to redo my research, Wreckorder is the debut album from Travis frontman Fran Healy. Now the reasoning is a little bit clearer.

Travis released several UK number one albums and a bunch of top twenty singles including tracks like “Sing”, “Coming Around”, and “Turn”. The band was noted for their delicate mixture of folk, rock, and pop. Unsurprisingly, Healy continues this mixture but with one big addition, an almost full symphony.

“Anything” employs what seems like an entire symphony. The track’s strings actually remind me of the strings on Drake‘s “Over”. Without the strings, the track would be a fairly bare-bones acoustic guitar ballad but the strings add a certain lushness to it.

In addition to bring in strings, Healy also brings in a good deal of guest stars to the album, a rarity on “rock” albums. “Sing Me to Sleep” is a duet between Healy and The New PornographersNeko Case. Paul McCartney plays bass on “As It Comes.” Although McCartney does not have a definitive bass-style that is pervasive on the song, Healy is a dedicate Beatles fan so it must have been a thrill for him to work with McCartney. Tom Hobden from Noah and the Whale plays violin on the album’s opening track. The violin really adds as an accentuate on the delicate piano ballad.

In the end, my only complaint about Wreckorder is the same complaint I always had about Travis, that it really has no edge. I am not saying that every song needs to be super edgy, but everything is a little too perfect on Wreckorder. Besides that one issue, the album is a pleasant listen.

Rating: 7.3/10

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