Traveler’s Rest – Outformation
About half way into Outformations Travelers Rest I had to turn it off for a few moments and ask myself whether this was going anywhere. There were doubts. The only thing I had deduced was this: as far as the rock and roll goes, Outformation has things in order. Theres a tight rhythm section that barrels ahead with some weight and a guitarist that knows how to wail steadily and with a little melody. Percussion and keyboard flourish here and there without much obstruction.
Unfortunately, Outformation doesnt yet have their own sound. This is a rather rare attribute for most bands, to be fair, but it is too bad, because these guys clearly have a grasp on their instruments. Nearly every track on Travelers Rest rests firmly and rather transparently on the foundation that is Widespread Panic. It’s just short of outright plagiarism, except that Travelers Rest is indeed the unique creation of the band members and indeed there are moments of something resembling real talent, if not originality.
Carnac ensues with a flimsy call and response vocals, reverb heavy guitars and shimmering keys that sound nice. Later carries a watery and weary melody forward without much momentum, and SG is a down and dirty guitar rock bar room song filled with poorly mixed and sung vocals with a standard progression that feels antiquated, not nostalgic. For the final song and title track, Widespread Panic makes a full-on appearance, meshing their sound with that of their fellow tunesmiths. It is here that the similarities come into full focus. From the keyboard fills to the steady, splashy drumming, to the guitar solos and vocal lines Outformation does a damn fine job at sounding like Widespread Panic. Widespread just prove that point here, and to a fault. Nearly every single aspect of Outformations latest is so blatantly tethered to WSP, its a wonder they had the balls to go ahead with it. In the end, that lifeline just isnt enough to keep Traveler’s Rest afloat.