Kurt Travis: Wha Happen?

Wha Happen?

(Kurt Travis)
Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A Throwback

This album was released on iTunes and cassette. Yes, I said cassette.

From the "This is better than That" file: I once reviewed an album for band A Lot Like Birds. My review was an F because there was lots of screaming on the album that ruined everything. However, beyond the screaming, the music was good and the lyrics didn’t suck, especially when they weren’t screamed. From that I can only conclude that Kurt Travis, who is also a vocalist for A Lot Like Birds, must be the guy who doesn’t scream, and his solo EP, Wha Happen?, is pretty much everything I liked about A Lot Like Birds without everything I hated.

The EP opens with “25 New Ways to Regress” which is pepper with frenetic bits of laughter and holds a steady beat while the vocals sway back and forth. Like a lovely dream of sailing the ocean and gripping the rails as the edge of the world looms near. “Time to Make a Plan; Not Getting Any Younger” continues with the swaying vocals over sparse instruments. Title track, “Wha Happen” is more of the same, but along with the music are what sounds like samples of news audio or other conversation. “My Favorite Things” sounds as if it could have been lifted directly from the soundtrack of some late 1980s or early 1990s teen angst flick, and that’s a compliment because I’m pretty sure I own all those soundtracks. The fifth track, “Let’s Remember Time”, continues with Kurt’s airy vocal style echoing over simple beats and guitar strumming. You’d think I’d be tired of all this similarity from song to song, and yet I find each one refreshing. The EP closes with “How Are Things” which, if you can believe it, has even more of a stripped down feel, with Kurt singing over only an acoustic guitar, adding a nice finish to the set.

Being only six songs and none of them over four minutes in length, the biggest flaw in Wha Happen? is that it is over too soon. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it is perfectly enjoyable. After the horror that was the album by A Lot Like Birds I had to suffer through, I’m happy I got a reintroduction of Kurt Travis and I’ll be checking out some of his other projects as well as looking forward to his future solo efforts.

Review by Jason Pace
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