Welp, this won’t be easy.
In the period of one year, Transit has grown from aggressive pop-punk into an indie/Midwestern emo band more influenced by Braid and American Football. Since the band released Keep This To Yourself in August of last year, they have released a mostly-acoustic EP and a 7”, and their progression is easy to trace when listening to the records. The band developed right before our eyes and in a way faster than many bands do in their entire careers. While some fans will surely miss their former sound, to not call their Rise Records debut, Listen & Forgive, their best work would just be a lie.
I was going to start this off by saying how good the first four tracks are, until I realized that cutting it off at four is unfair. I wanted to extend it to five tracks; then to six. There simply is not a bad track on the record. The band has improved in every which way. In the vocal department, Joe Boynton’s voice shines like it never has before. His voice is much better suited for the softer, indie style that the band has adopted. On “Long Lost Friends,” Boynton delivers a heartfelt and slightly angry performance that is certainly pleasurable to the ears. It doesn’t hurt that he is backed by Tim Landers’ vocals, which are always a fan favorite. Similarly strong vocal performances are found on “All Your Heart,” which features what is perhaps Boynton’s best hook in the chorus and a guest spot from some guy named Patrick Stump, and “I Think I Know You,” which features some of Boynton’s best lyrical work, which has grown tremendously in its own right.
The band’s improved instrumentation is displayed best on tracks like the title track, “Asleep at the Wheel,” and “Cutting Corners.” The title track features some nice arpeggiated guitar from Landers and newcomer Torre Cioffi in the verses. While some fans may miss former guitarist Joe Lacy for his vocals, to say that Cioffi isn’t a vast improvement on guitar is foolish. The intro of “Asleep at the Wheel” features Landers and Cioffi riffing off each other perfectly. The end of “Cutting Corners” captures some of the band’s best guitar work, in a style very similar to American Football and Owen. The rhythm section of P.J. Jefferson on bass and Daniel Frazier on drums is more in sync on this record than they ever have been before. While Frazier isn’t as rapid as he was on previous records, his drumbeats on this record are much more technical and much better.
Other highlights are the revamped “1978” and the closing duo of “Over Your Head” and “The Answer Comes in Time.” To not let the record play through these final three tracks is a grave crime. If you listen to these final three tracks and still tell me you think Keep This To Yourself is a better record, well, we probably would not be friends. Transit has managed to release one of the best records of the year, in a year that has been incredibly stacked with great records.
To think that this is just the beginning for Transit is mind-boggling. Most bands don’t find progression like this until late in their career and a good deal of the members of Transit are younger than I am. To be completely honest, it’s frustrating. And with the rate at which the boys put out records, I’m sure we will hear more progression sooner rather than later.