Take a very promising southern rock-country band and add the indisputable
keyboard talents of Widespread Panic's own Jojo Hermann
and what would you get? Well, something akin to Widespread Panic,
only missing all the senseless hippy jam nonsense, instead focused
on writing concise and brilliant songs. That is just what Outformation
brings to the table on their debut release, Tennessee Before
Daylight. The album is produced by the aforementioned Jojo,
and so retains quite a bit of the production sound of Widespread
Panic, but the similarities basically end there. The songs are pretty
concise, with only the closing track "Long Lonely Road"
reaching much beyond the five-minute mark and attempting to create
an orchestral sense of various movements combined into one piece.
With that one exception, these songs are listenable and just plain
good. The songwriting is first rate, the playing is impeccable,
and the sound of the record is truly resplendent. "Stone In
My Shoe" is a great track with chiming guitars and cool drumming
stutters that actually reminds me of the best moments of Phish,
once again without the jamming. "Can't Change The Past"
skips into a country train rhythm, with dazzling piano work and
evocative lyrics. "Center Stage" is a softly rolling track
filled with tremeloed guitars and lilting drumming that recalls
the finest hours of classic crossover bands like The Moody Blues.
This is an incredible debut record from a talented and impressive
young band. If you can separate Outformation from the Widespread
Panic connection, and listen with a clean palette, what you are
sure to come away with is a peaceful sense of things being right
in the world. The music is country enough to be country, without
having any Nashville airs, and rock enough to fit into just about
anyone's listening tastes. Of course, if you are one of those hippy
jam-band lovers, then I suppose the music on Tennessee Before
Daylight will appeal to you as well
if the right substances
are consumed the songs will probably last and last and last.
1. Game On
2. Tennessee Before Daylight
3. Stone In My Shoe
5. Brand New
6. Can't Change The Past
7. 'Bout My Money
8. Center Stage
10. Long Lonely Road
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