Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Travis Morrison: Travistan

Travis Morrison: Travistan

Release Date:2004

By Sebastian Roberts | Posted 11/17/2004

A year after the dissolution of the Dismemberment Plan, Travis Morrison has established his personal republic of Travistan. Free at last, Morrison sings, “Any open door looks good to me now,” and damn if he doesn’t mean it. While the Plan always flirted with genre jumping, sound effects, and production gags, Morrison tackles them like a drunken prom date, trying to get his hands on as much as possible.

And it’s a lot fun. Morrison’s sonic play more than balances the often-weighty subject matter. Examining middle-class white male privilege has never been as danceable as it is in “Born in ’72”, with touches of house, disco, and a lyrical nod to Fugazi. Morrison’s lifelong love of XTC puts an oddly summery spin on getting his ass kicked in the head-nodding “My Two Front Teeth, Parts 2 and 3.” And “People Die” sounds like the morbidly funny campfire sing-along that Kraftwerk never wrote.

Not all of his experiments work. “Che Guevara Poster” billows a little too much, with only a reedy melodica to anchor the song. The orchestral arrangement of “Angry Angel” doesn’t sound as majestic as it does bloated and melodramatic. A great many Plan fans will also bemoan the conspicuous absence of spasmic time changes and punky angularity, though anyone who picked up the band’s swan song, Change, should have seen this coming. Not that Travistan is for anyone other than Morrison himself. For now, this Washington, D.C., native is having fun exploring his newfound sovereignty.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter