(Red Eye USA)
Atlanta’s Outformation falls into that narrow gap between Southern Rock and jam band, and on this, their second album they display elements of both. Traveler’s Rest, which was a collaboration between Widespread Panic’s JoJo Hermann and Outformation, begins with a pair of songs whose titles are obviously plays on The Tonight Show, “Carnac” (as in Johnny Carson’s old psychic character) and “Dark Severinson,” a bit of word play based on Johnny’s old bandleader Doc. “Carnac” has the real jam band thing going until the chorus, where it explodes into a real R.E.M. vibe. “Severinson” moves between String Cheese Incident swagger and a real Frank Zappa kind of structure.
While it would be hard to call Outformation a Southern Rock band, it is quite obvious in listening to the guitars that they have listened to a whole lot of Toy Caldwell and Dickey Betts. Matter of fact, the boys turn in a cool Marshall Tucker tribute in “Toy’s Song,” a tune that has a bit of a Drive By Truckers feel. There’s a smoking guitar jam toward the end of the song. Pretty darn cool.
Oh, and the tune “SG” rocks with a Southern Rock vibe, that is if Les Claypool were doing the vocals. And the title track and set closer “Traveler’s Rest” rocks a Widespread groove. Look for the “hidden” instrumental jam at the end that is a brilliant example of what the boys do when they turn on their Southern Rock settings. Good jam.
-Michael Buffalo Smith