Massachusetts’ Transit kept their relevance strong in the past few years with their upbeat presence and diverse musical styles. Now in 2014, their new album Joyride refines their best qualities and highlights their skills in the genre of alternative and pop rock. Any fan of Transit can listen to this album and engage in their familiar characteristics, but Joyride is certainly not a safety album, as it explores a more mainstream and developed side to the band’s style.
It seems as if Transit try to please a multitude of music fans on this album, starting with the strong and popular pop punk influences of today. They dominate tracks like “Rest To Get Better” in order to slay consistent guitar riffs and sing-along choruses. However, they masterfully use their power of hooks on Joyride and give the generality of tracks like these distinct and unforgettable melodies. They also show a niche for repetitiveness in their refrains, giving releasing tracks like “Ignition & Friction” a spunky power that excites listeners.
Another interesting twist on alternative music is Transit’s common known use of slight country rooted instrumentals. If you loved the country-sounding twist to their hit song “Young New England”, you will love some of the elements on this album. Sometimes only slight tones of rural, summery fun shine through (“Fine By Me”), but tracks like “Nothing Left To Lose” are filled with lyrics like “Let’s go and bury our conditions / with sex and alcohol and songs with our friends” to paint the picture of a rebellious and anthemic campfire song. Guitar riffs on this album do a great job of dictating the style of the track, and the slight twang of the instrumentals in these tracks certainly catch listeners’ attention. This element doesn’t always give off a homey feel however; “Pins & Needles” pushes the peppy and pop melody to a point of mild irritation in the chorus that doesn’t flow as smoothly as the others. Although they normally do a great job fusing these styles together, like in “Loneliness Burns”, others tracks try a bit too hard.
While they explore their styles here and there, it’s really clear where Transit thrives on Joyride. They take on their identity as an alternative/pop rock band completely and produce songs full of hooks, instrumental power, and endless fun. Once again, the repetitiveness of the vocals are used wisely, giving the pop rock power of “Saturday Sunday” an uplifting mood with words like “I’ll be alright, alright / And you’ll be okay, okay.” Their reach towards more mainstream audiences show in “Too Little Too Late” as well; this liberating track is a highlight on the album and full of distinct guitar riffs that control the catchy rhythm and intoxicating atmosphere.
Transit also does an incredible job of creating uplifting ambience and atmosphere in their more alternative tracks. They balance these summery and freeing sounds wonderfully, mixing atmospheric and danceable rhythms consistently. “Sweet Resistance” is a personal favorite of mine on Joyride; it has a similar atmospheric effect that the track “The Only One” has, but is packed with even more quirky and fun hooks and beats. They even enhance this dominant style in the finale, “Follow Me” with storytelling lyrics (“Met this beautiful girl, she loved to pretend / And talk about the future we’ve never spent / Pulling off my heart strings, she played and she went / This is my love song, this is how it ends”) to vividly close out Joyride with lighthearted imagery and liberating thrill.
Transit has done a successful job of extending their style as far and wide as possible, giving them closure as to what their strong and weak points are. This record refines their styles and puts their structural skills at a question of success, and for the most part does a pleasing job of reaching it.