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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Traffic

Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory

Review by Gary Hill

Traffic was always an interesting band. They were never looking to fit into any particular musical boxes, but rather always sought to build their own sound regardless of what anyone labeled them. Of course, since we divide Music Street Journal up based on genres, I’m going to have to label this album and I’m putting it under progressive rock. Is the whole disc prog? No, but most of it is. The whole disc is great, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory

Percussion leads off and the group launch out from there. It’s a real hard rocker and perhaps a bit more straight ahead than a lot of music the band did. There’s a tasty guitar solo section and this cut is just a little raw in some ways. There is a cool jam late in the piece that’s more in keeping with the type of sound one usually thinks of when Traffic comes to mind.

Roll Right Stones
Starting off in a more mellow mode, this is pretty much a prog rock piece. It’s balladic and pretty and closer to the type of sound that is normally considered to be “Traffic-like.” It works out into more rock sounds and there’s a bit of a funk nature to it, but then we get a rather spacey jam from there. They take this through a number of changes and there’s a tasty dropped down section later. There is also a space rock sort of segment mid track. At almost twelve minutes in length, this is really epic in proportion.
Evening Blue
Another that’s really a progressive rock piece, this has that classic Traffic sound. It’s another that’s mellower and quite melodic. It’s essentially a ballad and includes some tasty horn work. It also has some cool emotion and musical textures. 
Tragic Magic
Although this instrumental could surely be considered jazz, I’d log it in as another progressive rock piece. It’s a cool tune that has a great groove and at times makes me think of Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd. 
(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired
This is essentially a powered up ballad. In some ways it reminds me of Elton John, but of course, it’s also all Traffic. I’d probably lump this one is as progressive rock, too, but barely. Whatever you call it, though, the slowly growing atmosphere of the piece just works like a charm.
 
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