Scottish rockers Travis have released a sparse, melodic new song and corresponding video “The Only Thing,” which features The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs joining singer Fran Healy on vocal duties. The new track comes as the fourth release off the quartet’s much-anticipated studio album 10 Songs, which will release October 9 on the BMG label.
“The Only Thing” follows in the band’s penchant for soft, melodic rock ballads with Healy’s vocals brushing over major chord progressions and lounge-style bass and hi-hats. Hoffs proves to be a delight on the new track as her soft, airy voice adds another layer to the entire arrangement.
Frontman Healy also pulls double-duty as the video’s director, which he coins as his official “Covideo.” In discussing the video’s remote production, Healy says the crew was forced to get creative with the execution and used several cell phones to complete the shoot.
“One of the main prerequisites was to somehow get us all on the same stage and try to capture the spontaneity of a duet while the performers are in different locations,” explains Healy. “I hired a small film crew and persuaded Glasgow’s Theatre Royal to open its doors to us. I directed the shoot remotely, via three phones. One in the DP’s ear, one FaceTime trained on the monitor and one iPhone with the band. There were so many moving parts. I’m amazed we got there and it turned out great.”
Discussing the collaboration, Hoffs says she and Healy became friends via Twitter and a duet quickly came to fruition. “One day, he asked me to sing with him, and without hesitation, I burst out ‘Yes!” says Hoffs. “He showed up at my doorstep with his recording gear and we recorded my vocals in the living room. Collaborating with Fran and the band has been a pure pleasure.”
According to a press release, 10 Songs will be available as a standard CD, heavyweight vinyl plus Deluxe 2CD and Deluxe 2LP (red and blue vinyl) versions that include 10 demo tracks. In addition to a limited edition 10” of previous 10 Songs single “Valentine,” the band’s store is offering “exclusive album merch bundles with limited signed art prints.”
Travis includes Healy (vocals, rhythm guitar), Dougie Payne (bass, backing vocals), Andy Dunlop (lead guitar, banjo, backing vocals) and Neil Primrose (drums, percussion). The band formed in Glasgow in 1990 and will celebrate their ninth full-length LP with 10 Songs.