Manchester-based group The Travelling Band have an indie folk sensibility that sounds as influenced by Americana as by their Irish neighbours. On their second album Screaming Is Something the hirsute Adam Gorman and Jo Dudderidge share vocal duties. Rather unfortunately, they both have the kind of clear, pure voices that would have made them prime candidates for a boys’ Cathedral choir. Many of these darkly textured songs would instead have benefitted from a cool growl.
The album begins with a bouncy pop feel that belies lyrics such as: “if fairweather friends have let you down why do you still kick around with all of these lost souls”. Title track Screaming Is Something kicks off with dramatic drums, but each time the song seems as though it’s going to embrace the dark side hinted at by the lyrics, the chirpy guitars pipe back up and put an end to it. Sundial smiles with Irish eyes, and Battlescars showcases the delicious vocal harmonies this band is capable of (and should have utilized more frequently). From seventh track Hindsight, the album begins to musically explore the depth that has been hinted at by the lyrics all along. “There was nothing to lose apart from one last goodbye,” the boys sing gloomily on The Horizon, Me and You, and for once the slower tempo seems in agreement with the lyrics. One Dime Blues is a classic subdued folk/blues song and final track On the Rails has a purer pop sensibility, with Manchester vowels slipping in and giving more personality and intimacy to lyrics like “if I don’t see you on that train I’ll see you on the other side”.
This album showcases interesting instrumentation, thoughtful lyrics and gorgeous vocal harmonies… but it’s somehow less than the sum of its parts. The production of the album has failed to capture the drama inherent in these songs. Screaming is something… and it would be great to hear The Travelling Band scream.
Kathryn van Beek www.joyriderpromotions.com
Click here to listen to On The Rails from Screaming Is Something: