Prior to recording their third album, The Invisible Band (due June 12th), Scotland’s Travis went into a London recording studio to serve as the backing band for ex-Katydids singer Susie Hug.
“She’s just the most amazing songwriter,” enthuses Travis frontman Fran Healy, who produced the recording. “I’ve known Susie for about five years now and she’s been writing these quite beautiful songs and recording them on eight-track and stuff. And the demos were pretty good. I thought we could actually do it better.”
Hug – who put out two albums with the Katydids (the Nick Lowe-produced self-titled debut in 1990 and 1991’s Shangri-La) on Reprise as well as a four-song solo CD single – was joined at RAK Studios last August by Travis guitarist Andy Dunlop, drummer Neil Primrose and bassist Dougie Payne (Healy did not play on the record). “We still have to record two vocals for it,” says Healy, “which we’re going to do in the next couple of months.”
Healy describes Hug’s material as very “feminine,” and says it is that quality that he most admires. ” Joni Mitchell writes brilliantly and is very feminine,” he says. “I can’t say I know women very well because you can’t read people’s minds, but it appears to me that there are very few female artists who are very successful at expressing themselves in that way. There’s Joni, there’s Kate Bush. There’s a few, but I think guys are better at bullshitting basically.”
While Healy is certain the album will be released under Hug’s name, because it is composed entirely of her material, he does not know when it will be released or on what label.
“It was great to actually to go in the studio to do another record before we did our own,” Healy says, “[but] I was shittin’ myself ’cause I thought, ‘Jesus, man, I’ll burn myself out before I’ve done my record.'”