For Fans Of
Upon first listen, “You Can’t Miss It (It’s Everywhere)” sounds like the best song Transit have ever done. But as Transit’s third full-length offering, “Listen & Forgive” rolls on it’s a feeling you get about pretty much every track. Yep I’ll say it up front – “Listen and Forgive” is definitely the Massachusetts five piece’s greatest achievement to date. That’s not to say I didn’t dig prior material – their early releases undoubtedly saw them leading the pack in the whole emo revival thing, establishing their sound as somewhere between the melancholy, lo-fi vibe of American Football and the more upbeat catchiness of bands like Fairweather. There were some ripper songs on their debut studio album “This Will Not Define Us” and most of 2009’s “Stay Home” EP was excellent. While last year’s “Keep This To Yourself” was an enjoyable album and attracted widespread appraisal for good reason, many of the songs seemed excessively layered, jarring and awkward, which its over-production really didn’t really help.
On this one, producer Gary Cioffi (who incidentally is guitarist Torre’s older brother) and engineer Tom Iannello recorded the album live, which probably accounts for why it sounds so much more cohesive and organic than its predecessor. Front man Joe Boynton’s vocals have improved (thankfully without the help of too much auto-tune) while the songs seem more thought out. Just about every track has a stupidly catchy chorus, from “All Of Your Heart” which features an impressive cameo from Patrick Stump to the almost radio-friendly “I Think I Know You”. The rich, warm melodic guitar we’ve come to know from Transit is better than ever, with the second track “Long Lost Friends” exhibiting this particularly well. The title track “Listen & Forgive” is an obvious standout with its nostalgic chorus and weaving guitar licks, as is a re-recorded version of “1978” which originally appeared on their great acoustic EP, “Something Left Behind”. “Don’t Make A Sound” has a really breezy, summer anthem kinda vibe, while on “Skipping Stone” the boys whip out the acoustic to give us a classic, bursting-with-angst Transit number. Another personal highlight was the melancholy closer, “The Answer Comes In Time”, which features vocals which sound plucked straight from Brand New’s “Deja Entendu”(seriously, listen for yourself).
There’s really not a lot to nit-pick with about “Listen & Forgive” considering its slick production, great use of melodic guitar and the smorgasbord of incredibly catchy hooks on offer. Like past Transit releases, this record definitely has some lyrics which are likely to make most listeners cringe; not least, ironically, in “All Your Heart” when Boynton sings “you made me into a monster so I made you into art” and proceeds to lash out at “every critic and every cynic” who has ever dissed Transit. Don’t worry man, you’ve put out a ripper of a CD and shouldn’t have too much criticism this time round.
I’m not sure whether it’s a case of third time lucky or whether Transit needed to impress the Rise Records executives, but “Listen & Forgive” is an A record. Far from over-hyped new band as they’re too often unfairly written off, Transit have delivered an exciting and relevant pop punk release with album number three. Having worked hard to make a name for themselves over five-odd years, it’s great to see their efforts paying off.
1. You Can’t Miss It (It’s Everywhere)
2. Long Lost Friends
3. Listen and Forgive
4. All Your Heart
5. Asleep At The Wheel
6. Cutting Corners
7. Skipping Stone
8. I Think I know You
9. Don’t Make A Sound
11. Over Your Head
12. The Answer Comes In Time (CD only)