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 magnetmagazine.com 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.