Sound — 6
Boston pop punk outfit Transit returned with their third effort "Listen & Forgive" on 4th October 2011, just 14 months after their sophomore record "Keep This To Yourself". In this short space of time, Transit have matured as a band, and this record does by no means seem rushed as some may assume, even with this short time span between releases. Firstly, the quintet seems much tighter as a unit on this release, with an impressive array of musicianship, especially the guitars. A fluctuation between fast paced drumming and eloquently beautiful melodic sequences creates a very attractive backdrop the lyrical stream of consciousness delivered from Joe Boynton to come to fruition, and this stays consistent throughout the album. However, the band's sound doesn't reach their full potential. Yes, the musicianship is clearly there, and yes, they aren't just another pop punk band in an endless sea of power chords and octave melodies, but with high intricacy come a lower passion, and this is lacking in their sound. The band just seems to emulate and vary parts of songs on the other side of the record, and there seems to be no sense of beginning, middle or end (e.g, intros of the title track at #3, and the track over your head.) It's not the fact they are similar, there just seems to be no effort. Even if it is not a concept album as such, there seems to be no sense of time, and by the middle of the album the ear tends to drown in once catchy, now boring melodies and non-intriguing drum beats, and you just end up taking the CD out. Bands like The Wonder Years with their incredible "Suburbia: I Have Given You All And Now I'm Nothing", keep it simple and punchy, both for the music's credibility but to also compliment the message delivered through the emotive and powerful lyrics of Soupy. Transit aren't The Wonder Years, that is neither a compliment or an insult, they are different bands, but with a title called "Listen & Forgive", the albums crux should be emotion, and even though the lyrics make up this to some degree the band should take a leaf out of The Wonder Years' book and focus on making a journey if they really want to make a really satisfying record, one they can be 100% proud of. Overall, despite its potential, I'm going to give this section a score of 6/10, as this record needs more substance to rank any higher.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics is this bands forte on previous releases, such as this amazing little verse on "Please, Head North" "After tonight I just can't be alone/ I'm driving home beneath the spotlights/ They're holding me in suspense/ But that's just the way it is I guess/For those of us who move too fast/ And I wish that I could say that I'm wishing you the best/But I can't, but I can't." This album is no exception. Lyrically, the band produces yet more gold, my personal favourite being the metaphorical interpretation of his loneliness in "Skipping Stones" "And every memory is like a skipping stone/You'll never understand how long it took the tides/To bring them back to us". Joe Broynton (Vocals) not only excels in his lyrics, but also in his voice. He has resonant, yet melodic vocals, and despite not having much variation in his voice in terms of pitch or pace, the power and tension you can hear snapping at his own lyrical out pour puts him head and shoulders above the majority of singers you will find under the pop punk umbrella. However, due to the restrictions of his vocal range, it makes the flaws of the bands music all the more apparent, in hope of not digging into the bands actual music again, this would have been much higher than an 8/10, and despite wanting to give this higher, I'm afraid but the lack of musical support to the intensity of the lyrics is at times annoying and at others just takes away it's meaning completely, and prevents the very deep and almost ingenious lyrics from sinking in. Also, as a band which deserves the up most respect, this may not be popular, but the guest performance from Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump doesn't really add anything to this records spectrum, and in all honesty and the band would have been better not including him in on the record. Despite this though, a very good lyrical and vocal effort from The Boston Boys.
Overall Impression — 7
In conclusion, this is a good record, but therein is why this album has fallen short. It is just... Good. There is no highlight moments, there are no awe inspiring parts which make you want to jump, then make you cry, then punch the guy next to you in the face in a pumped up, pop punk filled rampage like other bands can (once again, The Wonder Years are credited with this, and others like The Story So Far and Set Your Goals.) There is not a collection of tracks which pack a punch the mood is consistent throughout, and "Listen & Forgive" and "Skipping Stones" are the only two songs which even come close to creating something they can be very proud of. This just not emotional, and feels like it's a safe record. And who wants that? With a title called "Listen & Forgive", the emotional drive of the record should be what dictates the music, not the music dictating (or holding back) how far the lyrics have effect, but that's exactly what's happened. Whether the band aimed to just create a record to stabilise themselves on the pop punk scene is not what I am suggesting, but you could be fooled from thinking otherwise. Keep listening to this band, they are developing nicely, but for album no.4, they need to up their game. Make some risks, don't over complicate things, just make the music from the heart, not the head. Frustratingly, all I can give overall is a 7/10.