Album Reviews

Album Review: The Travelling Band – Screaming Is Something (Cooking Vinyl)

By | Published on Wednesday 8 June 2011

The Travelling Band

There has come a time when the alt-folk scene has, for a lack of a better term, become overcrowded. When you don’t really know your Foxes from your Antlers, your Birds from your Mumfords, your Bons from your whatever the trendy forest-dwelling animal is doing the band-name rounds. A big fan of the genre (well, in small, bearable doses – especially these days), I’m even starting to lose count – and hope. Because yes, this is the point where everything sadly begins to sound the same.

Enter Manchester’s The Travelling Band, a folksy, alt-country outfit of the more poppy persuasion: think Mumford meets Keane, if ever such a horror were to exist. Okay, perhaps that’s a little harsh, but I did nab this album thinking: ‘Yes! A band named after that BRILLIANT Creedence song, they MUST be good! Mustn’t they?’ I hasten to add that I was spectacularly off the mark, and I’ll know never to trust blind optimism ever again.

‘Screaming Is Something’ isn’t a bad album. It’s not a particularly brilliant one either, but it’s not bad. It’s just so middle of the road that it coasts, making me wring my hands and despair that soul-influenced rock and US roots-influenced indie is just no longer alive any more: it lacks a definite pulse.

Title track ‘Screaming is Something’ is a song I can see fitting in happily on a Starbucks compilation, and I guess some people like that (people who like sugary milk rather than real coffee and reading bizarre things like Dan Brown novels). Hope flourishes during ‘Under The Pavement’, a lovely little song with through-the-woods echoes and whimsical instrumentals of a more British folk fare; ‘One Dime Blues’ stands out too as a nice acoustic track with a Jay Jay Pistolet kind of feel. But that’s where the interest sadly ends.

‘Screaming Is Something’ is too safe, too hard to be inspired by, too inspired by too much, too much of nothing, really. TW

Physical release: 6 Jun