Travis’ Fran Healy Is Happy To Hang Around: David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory”

The yearning voice and sullen temperament behind the languid and lush Scottish outfit Travis, Fran Healy has been laying low of late. The primary task on his to-do list: commune with his diverse surroundings while recording his first solo effort in New York, Vermont and (mostly) Berlin. Whether the new Wreckorder (Ryko) benefits from that far-flung trio of locales—or guest appearances from Neko Case and Paul McCartney—is largely irrelevant to anyone who’s not already smitten by Healy’s majestically restrained brand of mope-rock understatement. The 10-song collection occasionally recalls the quieter moments on the already-pretty-quiet The Invisible Band, Travis’ 2001 LP. Only here, Healy turns even more insular as he’s left to stew in his own introspective juices. Healy will be guest-editing all week. Read our Q&A with him.

Healy: I have vague memories of the video for “Ashes To Ashes” when I was a little kid, then “Let’s Dance,” but became obsessed with Bowie for six months because of “Blue Jean” and “Modern Love.” Then, when I was 18, through Dougie, I discovered the “other” Bowie. Hunky Dory is a pretty perfect record. My friend, the producer Nigel Godrich, says the snare sound is one of the best recorded. I agree. The songs are effortlessly perfect.

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