Proving their musical spirit and presence in “Keep This to Yourself,” expanding upon their lyrical genius in “Something Left Behind,” and putting both together to create their most popular album “Listen and Forgive,” Transit has transformed and progressed greatly over the past few years, gaining new fans along the way but always keeping the old ones around.
However, I mean it when I say that “Young New England,” released on Rise Records on April 2, is one of the biggest musical disappointments of my life, and for many fans as well. It pains me to make that entirely deserving statement, as they have been one of my favorite bands for the past four years. If Transit hadn't proved their ability and talent in all of their previous endeavors, this would not have been such of a shocker and I would not be holding them to such high standards. This album not only lacks the sound they've developed (although fans know by now it changes fairly frequently), but it's a major step backward in their capabilities.
A band's sound changing over time is completely understandable. As a band grows, and plays together longer, it is natural to reach a more mature and refined sound, maybe even dipping their toes into a different genre, but usually these changes are accompanied by an increase in talent, something that “Young New England” is lacking.
When “Nothing Lasts Forever” was released before the album leaked, I tried not to worry too much and held my breath until I could make a full judgment. To say that “Young New England” and “Sleep” are the best songs on the album is an overstatement because they stick out as the most “Transit-sounding” songs, but it's an understatement as well because, frankly, they aren't that good. The song “Weathered Souls” does pick the album up a little bit with the most definitive chorus: “For the weathered souls and the storms not forgotten / the beating hearts on the North Shore of Boston.” It is one of the songs in the album where the lyrical content gives listeners a glimpse of who the songwriters are.
Lacking any depth, instrumentally and lyrically, the rest of the album continues and concludes in a very empty way. “Hang It Up” doesn't sound like a finished product, like there's something missing or like the music and lyrics were supposed to be matched up with different songs.
With memories of driving around screaming relatable Transit lyrics and throwing myself around with other pop punk lovers to “Please Head North” played with such vindication and emotion live, it is only natural that “Young New England” would serve as a letdown, but more importantly one that I was not expecting. I felt the need to go back and listen to old songs like “1978” and “Stay Home” to assure myself that this is the Transit I know and love. If it's a new sound they're looking for, they've certainly accomplished it, and I can only hope it brings them the new fans they're looking for.
Transit 'Young New England' Rating: W W