Traffic was an English rock band first formed in 1967, and started out with a psychedelic rock style and gradually developed into more of a prog rock and jazz rock sound by the end of their time initial time together in 1974 (the remaining members of the band got back together and released one more studio album in 1994). This album, Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory (1973), is the group’s sixth studio album, and is in a progressive rock/jazz fusion style according to the album’s Wikipedia page. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory” starts out with some super groovy, almost breezy congas with some slick electric guitar work that sort of has a mixture of prog rock and yacht rock sounds. Holy smokes, I’m really digging the guitar work in this track. The percussion sort of reminds me of David Byrne a bit. Oh wow, I really dig how the guitar tone keeps changing and seems to become less and less bass-y as the instrumentation continues, developing almost a sort of tin-like hollow sound. I really dig the way the bass guitar grooves along with the congas, which both provide a super sweet, upbeat rhythm section that keeps the tune feel like it’s moving quickly. Oh wow, I’m really digging this instrumental prog jam in the latter half of the song. Wow, great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
“Roll Right Stones” starts out with some smooth, mellow, breezy vocals, backed by some super sweet, and times bass-y piano, and some groovy percussion that matches the easy-going feel of the tune thus far really nicely. The overall feel of the tune so far reminds me a ton of Steely Dan’s Gaucho (1980). Holy smokes, some organs come in behind the piano as the tune picks up a bit. Oh wow, this tune has entered a sort of drippy, groovy, vaguely psychedelic prog rock territory that I’m really digging. Holy smokes, this track is super groovy so far. I really dig the extended vocal lines during the chorus of the track. Oh wow, it sounds like there are some flutes and breezy brass and/or reed instruments that come in to add a sort of smooth, mellow jazz sound during what might be considered a bridge. Oh wow, the instrumentation seems to enter an almost spacey, drippy section for a moment that I’m really digging. Oh wow, the band has gotten into a super groovy, drippy, prog-y jazz rock section that I really dig, especially as the guitar and brass instrumentation seemingly blends together while the piano, and organs keep the tune flowing along to the rhythm section. Holy smokes, I really dig the tremolo effect on the guitar line just before the vocals come back in as the track launches back into the chorus for the final time to bring the song to a close. Wow, awesome track.
“Evening Blue” starts out with some really sweet, mellow acoustic guitars that have a sort of bluesy folk sound that I really dig. Oh wow, I really dig the accentuation of a 7 chord of some sort from the acoustic guitar on the right side of the soundscape. Holy smokes, the drums come in with some mellow keyboard work that invokes a sort of vaguely psychedelic feel. Oh wow, the track seems to be picking up a bit as more layers of different drums come into the soundscape. Holy smokes, a super sweet saxophone or clarinet enters the track and brings some bluesy jazz flavors with it into the soundscape. Oh wow, I really dig the quick, mellow drum fill near the very end of the track. Great tune.
“Tragic Magic” gets started with some mellow congas, which are soon joined by what sounds to be a clarinet or some similar instrument. Holy smokes, the piano and organs really flow nicely with the percussion and add a super groovy jazz-y ambiance to the soundscape. Holy smokes, the clarinet/reed instrument picks up a sort of drippy effect for a moment that I’m really digging. The piano almost has a sort of New Orleans feel reminiscent of artists like Allen Toussaint or even Dr. John. Wow, this is one groovy instrumental tune. Oh wow, some accentuations from some brass instruments enter the soundscape as the track begins to pick up a bit in intensity. I really dig the way the tambourine that seems to coax the soundscape to move even quicker. Oh wow, the bass guitar has a really massive sound that I’m really digging. Wow, great track.
Oh wow, “(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired” starts out with an interesting mixture of bluesy and breezy sounds, giving me the impression of Steely Dan’s Gaucho (1980) if the breezy yacht rock songs on the album included one that gave the impression of being lost at sea. Oh wow, the track seems to gradually become more optimistic, almost taking on a gospel-like sound during the chorus. I really dig the use of both the organs and the piano in both this track and throughout the album. Holy smokes, the electric guitar comes in with some massive flavors and some lines that give me a vague impression of Jeff Beck meets Pink Floyd. Oh wow, I really dig the combination of flavors from the organs, congas, and tremolo’d guitar. Holy smokes, I really dig how the mood has changed to something so optimistic and gospel-like from the bluesy, sullen beginning. Wow, great track, and a great way to finish the album.
Holy smokes, I really dig this album. I’ve listened to Traffic in the past, but pretty much exclusively their Mr. Fantasy (1967) album. The style of this album is quite different from Mr. Fantasy (1967), and really makes me want to listen to the rest of their discography. The music verged on yacht rock at times with breezy guitar lines and groovy congas in the percussion, while seemingly hinting at psychedelic territory with drippy effects on extended prog rock/jazz fusion jams. If you’re into a sort of breezy progressive rock and/or jazz rock at all, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.