Picks and Pans Review: The Man Who

updated 05/22/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/22/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Travis (Epic/Independiente)

Album of the week

The Man Who, one of Britain's best-selling albums of 1999, was made by a bunch of cute guys from Scotland—but unlike other popular boy bands these days, these lads actually write their own music and play instruments. Lead singer and songwriter Fran Healy was attending art school when he noticed he was completing more songs than paintings. He dropped out to pursue music with two art-school buddies and found the fourth member hanging out at a Glasgow pub. Then they headed off to London to make their fortune.

If this story sounds familiar (it should—it's basically the genesis of nearly every band from the first British Invasion), then so will the group's music, a gorgeous swirl of choirboy harmonies and tenderly strummed guitars harking back to the innocent-sounding late-1960s style made popular by Harry Nilsson. Backed by drums that pitter-patter like raindrops, Healy spins tales of irony-free longing that swoop and soar romantically. "You're driftwood floating underwater/Breaking into pieces," he croons to one ex-lover. "Who can resist?

Bottom Line: Brit-pop balladeers to fall in love with

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