Listen & Forgive

Written by: DR on 18/10/2011 17:03:51

With their (aptly titled) debut album, "This Will Not Define Us", and last years follow-up, "Keep This To Yourself", Transit had become established among pop punk-philes as a band worthy of being regarded in the higher echelons of the genre. However, whereas a lot of the reactionary pop-punk scene are trying to and succeeding in keeping the fires of the genre burning, Transit have decided to step away from that crowd with "Listen & Forgive".

Maybe 'step out' is misleading as that would imply that "Listen & Forgive" is a conscious effort at sounding definitely not pop punk. This isn't the case as, although "Keep This To Yourself" wasn't an immature record, "Listen & Forgive" is definitely their most mature album to date, therefore it's probably more accurate to say they are growing out of pop punk. Before, the instrumention was jagged and off-kilter and a strong sense of urgency and frustration was the spine which was conveyed by the emotional call/response interplay between frontman Joe Boynton and guitarist Tim Landers. It had a clear punk edge. Now, Landers' contribution is dialled back, the musicanship has calmed down considerably, and, considering this is essentially a 'break up' album aimed at your heart-strings, are stunningly composed and confident. It's less New Found Glory and more Texas Is The Reason and American Football.

You get the feeling that Transit put an incredible amount of care into creating this album, not just focused on creating a subtler record displaying post-"Something Left Behind" delicate instrumentation, but also on developing their abilities as song-writers. Boynton still sings of relationships - he did grow up with 90s emo, after all - making "Listen & Forgive" a 'break up' album if you ever heard one. What made that style so special back in its heyday is that the emotional aspect of it was completely sincere, as are Transit now. If Transit had tried to force it or fake it then "Listen & Forgive" simply wouldn't work as it relies heavily on the emotional impact of Boynton, but by being genuine and not trying to overplay anything or actually trying to sound emotional, it works. There is no melodrama here; just honesty.

We can still hear feint traces of the band Transit once were in the likes of "You Can't Miss It (It's Everywhere)" and "Cutting Corners", yet with the likes of "Asleep At The Wheel", the title-track "Listen & Forgive" and "I Think I Know You" they layer melodies and intricate instrumentation carefully akin to the likes of American Football. What ultimately makes "Listen & Forgive" the kind of album that college kids and twenty-somethings will take to heart is that they blend seamlessly (and memorably) two of the styles that have been defining that same crowd for over a decade: emo and pop punk.

The stripped back acoustic effort "Skipping Stone", for instance, is a refined, heartfelt track that sounds like it has had little-to-no production treatment, and as a result Boynton, and Landers' backing him, sound refreshingly sincere. "1978", remastered from "Something Left Behind", is the best example of Transit's progression as it sounds more thought-out than the previous version, and while it's not neccessarily better than the original, it's certainly no worse - and that's the point.

There has been a consistent if subtle progression from their beginning to now, and along the way they've only ever made (very) good albums. "Listen & Forgive" confirms Transit as artists, who are not going to make the same album twice, who will continue to progress and mature until they become one of those bands that are near-impossible to pigeon-hole. It carefully treads the line between emo and pop punk, sounding nostalgic but not dated. When any band dares to progress they are inevitably going to lose a few fans, but if it works as it does on "Listen & Forgive" they'll inevitably gain even more.


Download: Listen & Forgive, Cutting Corners, Skipping Stone
For The Fans of: American Football, Mineral, Texas Is The Reason, Jimmy Eat World
Listen: Offical site

Release Date 04.10.2011
Rise Records

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