Transit has been getting better and better ever since the release of their first EP, 2007's Let It Out. But no one could ever predict that their development would reach such a devastating pinnacle on Stay Home.
The band's newest release, a six-song collection again recorded with New England hardcore super producer Jay Maas (Verse, Shipwreck), Stay Home is made up an absolutely mind-blowing first half and a second half that, while not quite as good, is still wholehearted, well-rounded and stupidly solid itself.
The opening title track kicks things off with a double-time beat and noodly lead riff deceivingly presented in lo-fi format before punching through the speakers with Joe Boynton shouting "So many days and nights--!" From there, it propels forward into the band's signature style, that being mildly poppy and sincerely emotional melodic hardcore, clearly inspired by the likes of Crime in Stereo and Lifetime, but with something truly special of their own. You can hear it when the bridge of "Stay Home" crawls in and Boynton's voice dips into hushed, softly muttered territory, while layered, gravelly group shouts of "Keep running, keep shining on!" urge him forward, creating a contrast so cathartic it's numbing.
A similar procedure is wielded in the next masterpiece, "Nameless (Songs to Static)," which packs as many pounding dynamics and triple vocal attacks as a band can do in two minutes. Then comes "Stays the Same," a song that practically seems crafted with the intention of systematically tugging at heartstrings from start to finish. It's also further proof that every singer has gotten better -- Boynton is less nasally, Joe Lacy (guitar) is entirely less cutesy and way more gritty while Tim Landers (guitar) is even more gruff, which is exactly the improvements you want to hear in a style like this. Their vocal interplay is just fantastic, with the song eventually evolving into an overwhelming set of declarations: Landers and Lacy growling "You're an anchor / and a mistake," and Boynton resigning, "I just can't hold my breath anymore / We're only going down with it." Polar Bear Club fans should be flocking to this shit.
"Atlas" kicks off the proverbial side two with more upbeat energy and more creative, intricate guitar work, "return this desert to a sea" making for a super strong hook. "Riverside" is another impressively structured number, challenging the listener with a ton of changes and a definite similarity to Taking Back Sunday that comes in at about 1:50 and peaks with Boynton and Lacy getting all Lazarra and Nolan-esque (respectively) on us at the end ("Just keep your eyes on the door. / I'll have an ear to the ground / and we'll be gone before the dust can settle."). Stay Home calls it a day with the mostly wispy and acoustic but eventually full-band sing-along "Outbound," somewhat bringing to mind some of the more depressing moments -- lyrically and musically -- on Saves the Day's I'm Sorry I'm Leaving.
As uneven as Stay Home might be, it's scary to think how young and already accomplished Transit is and where they could possibly go from here. Everyone but this band should be the ones keeping their ears to whatever ground Transit is treading.
Stays the Same