The record was written mostly in early 2005, and then after some unsatisfactory attempts to record them, me and the Hellfighters stopped working on it.â?? Travis Morrison
This above quote from the band's frontman, Travis Morrison, is not something that bestows the listener with a wealth of confidence when approaching a newly released, highly anticipated album for the first time. When a songwriter starts off the summary of his new record like that, reviewers at a certain other site must have gotten their Travis Morrison bash gear all revved up and ready to go for a followup performance. Well, someone must be disappointed.
All Y'All turns out to be one hell of a sophomore release from Travis Morrison, whose band is now officially titled Travis Morrison Hellfighters. Backed by a full supporting cast, Travis Morrison and company deliver a tight and focused album that flows from song to song beautifully and coherently. One of the biggest concerns people had with Morrison's first record Travistan was its lack of flow, featuring songs that really diverted from each other stylistically. Whether or not Travis consciously looked to address that criticism in All Y'All, this record tackles the above issues with a steady delivery of songs that will not only capture all that was right in Travistan, but are sure to please fans of the Dismemberment Plan who were let down by Morrison's first solo effort. Whether it is the "freak-out" moments on the appropriately titled track "You Make Me Feel Like a Freak" or the quirky lyrical references of "Hawkin's Rock," Travis pulls off the difficult challenge of crafting songs that all sound fresh, heartfelt, and nostalgic at the same time.
The musical style has often been compared to Change-era Dismemberment Plan, and if I had to pick one record to compare All Y'All to, that would be it. But Morrison's latest effort really goes beyond a re-hashed D-Plan record, and All Y'All is evidence of his evolution as a songwriter. Synthesizers and traditional instruments craft melodies and beats that are as catchy as ever, and provide just enough stylistic U-turn moments to please long-time fans. I could just say this album is like Change, but I need to be more specific. If we put "Ellen and Ben," "Following Through," "Memory Machine" and all of Travistan in a blender -- and then gave Travis Morrison three years to put it all back together in a solid, well-constructed manner, the finished product would be All Y'All.
The album is streaming for free at Travis's website, so don't take my word for it -- head over and give the whole thing a listen.