Review: Fran Healy, ‘Wreckorder’

Review: Fran Healy, ‘Wreckorder’: Aidin Vaziri | Fran Healy had a good run with his band Travis, turning out sweet-natured pop tunes that served as an antidote to tour mates Oasis’ caveman rock in the late ’90s. But the Scottish group’s last few albums were directionless and dull, so much so that the members decided to wander off and start families rather than make any more. But the singer presses on with his first solo effort, “Wreckorder.” Healy looks a bit like a vagabond now, with his gray scruff and thrift-store fedora, but the songs here are probably his most inspired since those on Travis’ 1999 classic, “The Man Who.” He recruited Paul McCartney via e-mail to play bass on the down-tempo “As It Comes” (Healy went vegetarian to thank him for his troubles), and trades verses with Neko Case on the lovely “Sing Me to Sleep.” But it’s the solo songs, sounding a little more synthetic than you might expect, that see him launching into orbit, particularly when he breaks out the old falsetto for the heart-wrenching “Anything.” Now if only he could give up the bad rhymes (on “Buttercups,” Healy sings, “I see you sitting in silence outside my house/ Quiet as a mouse”), things might get fully back on track.

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