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Album Review: Transit - Listen And Forgive

Not since Brand New jumped from ‘Your Favorite Weapon’ to ‘Deja Entendu’, has a band undergone as surprising a musical shift. Transit was in a comfortable position, and few would have been disappointed with an aurally similar album to ‘Keep This To Yourself’, an oft-overlooked gem in the recent pop-punk renaissance. But it says a lot that the band were willing branch out this far from what had become a very comfortable comfort zone.

However, ‘Listen And Forgive’ is not Transit’s ‘Deja’, there is still plenty of work to be done. Musically, they have never sounded better and the production is near flawless. They sound as tight a band as is currently playing rock music. But there’s a sheen that exists that actually takes away from the album’s appeal. Isn’t music supposed to be raw, slightly rough and overflowing with passion? It’s a criticism that could never be leveled at Transit before this album, but Transit’s musical shift has been to move to safer musical ground – a more polished and radio-friendly land.

Any of the first four songs could be hits, ‘All Your Heart’ even features Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy fame, which gives it undeniable crossover appeal (though sounds like mistake). ‘Long Lost Friends’, one of the strongest tracks on the album, finds Joe Boynton at his lyrical best and it seems that there has been a conscious decision to keep his vocals at the forefront of all the songs on the album, much like Northstar did with Nick Torres on ‘The Pornographer’s Daughter’. It’s deserved, Boynton has been one of the better lyricists releasing rock music over the last couple of years and there some real gems scattered throughout the album.

Unfortunately, the album suffers from a one-paced-ness that can make it seem rather bloated in the middle section. ‘I Think I Know You’ and ‘Don’t Make a Sound’ simply exist and not even some neat lyrical flourishes in the latter can save them from being just… average. It’s disappointing, because Transit seemed to be setting up to amalgamate influences from the pop-punk world and the Midwestern scene of the 90s, but instead these three songs lack any clear influences.

'Listen And Forgive' picks up again towards the tail-end with ‘1978’, the Further Seems Forever-esque ‘Over Your Head’ and album closer ‘The Answer Comes in Time’, but 'Listen And Forgive', as a whole, seems like an odd exercise. Even the album title suggests that the band are trying to appease their earlier fans who many not be able to stomach the musical change.

It’s clear that Transit has undergone a radical evolution between ‘Listen And Forgive’ and ‘Keep This To Yourself’. Perhaps being constantly referred to as a ‘pop-punk’ band got to Transit and they responded by distancing themselves as far away from that tag as possible. It’s just a shame that the music is what has suffered as a result. By no means is this a bad album, but it’s a sideways step – despite the musical shift.


'Listen and Forgive' is out October 4th through Rise Records.

Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!