Kurt Travis has had a fairly varied career, having previously found fame fronting Dance Gavin Dance and A Lot Like Birds before becoming a solo artist back in 2012.
While in the aforementioned bands, he was known for a far heavier style than what his own individual work tends to have, with his solo project seeing Travis flex his creative muscles in softer, contrasting ways that have exercised his multiplicity as a musician. On his third solo effort, ‘There’s A Place I Want To Take You’, that journey continues.
Much like the title would point towards, this is an album that plays on atmospheric, scenic moods, effectively taking us on a tour of Travis‘ favourite scenery across ten decorated tracks. Vocally, his Bert McCracken quality vocally is shared once more, although for the most part he keeps himself quite restrained, allowing his voice to fit in with the rather mellow tone of the record.
While the overall feel is chilled, as acoustics, clean guitars and softly delivered vocals dominate, one area that really allows itself some fun comes in the drumming department, where beats are largely unpredictable, uncommon, and quite engaging. Even on the most relaxed of tracks, like ‘Still Won’t Listen’, ‘Lewis’, and ‘Tomorrow Will Be Fine’, the beats are chopping and flickering in a busy manner, and offer a juxtaposition to the soft-centre around them, which really pulls you in.
When the rest of the instruments catch up, things do speed up, as ‘We’ll Probably Be Alright’ provides a change of pace as a faster track. Driving guitars and yet more throbbing drums providing a spike in energy that contrasts the rather timid nature of much of the surrounding songs, without feeling too raw.
While the balance of the record is generally a harmonious experience, the rather heavily electronic ‘Best Way’ feels a bit at odds with the rest of the acoustics and jumps out as a bit of a random inclusion. It’s understandable why Travis may have wanted to spice things up a bit creatively, but it feels like too big of a jump sonically for the album.
All in all, ‘There’s A Place I Want To Take You’ feels like a picturesque journey down an aesthetic road, with the record making its own bed on being a relaxing listen. Creatively there’s a lot to be admired in Travis‘ songwriting and musicianship, and his gradual transition into a solo artist over the years feels justified once more.