Having been completely won over by Graham Travis’ impressive debut, Why Don’t You Know Me Yet?, I’ve been eagerly anticipating new work from this singer/songwriter. While this split EP is barely an appetizer to the main course I’ve been hoping for, it makes a strong statement for this artist’s staying power.
Travis teams with Andy Fitts of Airport Cathedral, a band I’m unfamiliar with, on this split. Both artists cite their fathers as being vital musical influences, and the purpose of this EP is to recognize that musical inheritance – hence the heir portion of the title. It helps that Fitts’ songwriting style nicely compliments Travis’ own, and the resulting work gels sweetly for a cohesive pop nugget.
Travis’ two songs open first, and “Homerun” is a delightful pop nugget. Equal parts Elliott Smith and The Shins, the song rides some rich organ and catchy guitar, but perhaps more important is Travis’ vocals. It’s a catchy song that, during the melodic hook of the verses, reminds me of Grandaddy at that band’s most poppy. On “They Can’t Read the Rulebooks Yet,” Travis gets more mellow, singing over piano primarily, but there’s a nice mix of backing vocals and assorted other instrumentation to give the tune a quirky feel, again making me think of Grandaddy.
Fitts’ songs take a more folk approach, primarily due to his voice, which is a tad breathy and seems perfectly suited to the folky style. There’s some lap steel evident in the very pretty “Please Don’t Forget,” giving it a country tinge, but the song has a nice pace and rhythm that keeps it from being too laid back. “The Bayou” is a little more retro in approach, with some strummed acoustic guitar and mellow vocals providing the framework for an otherwise light and airy tune.
All in all, this is a nice EP. I’m again won over by Graham Travis, and now that I’ve been teased with two new songs, I’m itching for a follow-up album. Fitts does his job nicely at complimenting Travis’ songs but not sounding just the same. This is a fine little EP for fans of singer/songwriter material.