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Transit - Keep This to Yourself (Cover Artwork)

Transit

Transit: Keep This to YourselfKeep This to Yourself (2010)
Run For Cover Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Transit's sophomore full-length walks a fine tightrope between mass pop-punk appeal and those who always saw the band as far more talented and ambitious than the confines of that style, scene and aesthetic. A fair warning: Keep This to Yourself--notably its first half--is far poppier than what pr.
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Transit's sophomore full-length walks a fine tightrope between mass pop-punk appeal and those who always saw the band as far more talented and ambitious than the confines of that style, scene and aesthetic.

A fair warning: Keep This to Yourself--notably its first half--is far poppier than what previous fans might be accustomed to. It's a move that could certainly find crossover appeal with the fanbases of their associates--Man Overboard; This Time Next Year; I Call Fives--and that's likely read as a scary thing to Transit's followers who always admired them for their more obscure, "roots"-oriented influences (Osker, Fairweather). After all, 2009's Stay Home had those moments where the entire atmosphere could change on a dime, Joe Boynton's voice dipping down into more hushed spheres; it seemed to promise something far more progressive and expansive was to quickly follow.

Keep This to Yourself is not that watershed, life-changing record, but here's the thing: They do the popper thing really well. This may not be the direction I or others wanted Transit to go, but it's a very good pop-punk album on its own merits.

If it's any consolation, all incarnations of "emo" has gone through since 1998 continue to be referenced by the band, from Lifetime's speed ("The Downsides," "Our New Year") and Taking Back Sunday's dynamic vocal trade-offs ("Footwork") to whatever sort of playful, finger-picking bands My Heart to Joy get down to ("No In-Between"). It's just set into a more dastardly melodic complex, albeit one that's delivered with a relentless energy, scrappiness and technicality that's always been at the band's core regardless of how they're going about it. Granted, guitarist Tim Landers has a more limited role here with his backup vocals than he's seemed to have on past records, but he's just as effective when utilized, and he's expanded his range with newfound melodic yelps alongside his trademark gravelly shout.

The record's heavier second half offers a little more experimentation and burliness, from the more swelling beginning of "I Was Going to Cross This Out" to the emo jam-band feel of the instrumental title track. It's actually just as successful in nature as the first half, but its different direction provides a necessary contrast to freshen things up.

But Joe Boynton's lyrical development, which has improved steadily over the years, has reached a level of comparative profoundity as far as pop-punk goes. "You can paint a wall, but you can't cover up the cracks," he cautions in "Footwork," and later muses in "I Was Going to Cross This Out," "Everyone misses someone more than they would like to admit." Hardly groundbreaking, but certainly grounded. He's not always 100% on point, though--in "No In-Between," there's a proverbial boy spoken of whose "bones were made of glass" and "threw too many stones, leaving him in pieces everywhere." So...was the boy throwing stones at himself, then? Or were his joints clashing so much, said glass bones eventually shattered? The metaphor just feels strained. And a personal preference for "Our New Year," where the most heart-aching refrain of the album comes along in a repetitious plead by the band ("Is this the happiest you've ever been? Oh God, I hope that it is."): The bridge and close would be exponentially more cathartic if it was "I hope to God that it is," but that's probably just nitpicking at this point.

Producer Jesse Cannon has been a can't-miss overseer on pop-punk albums the last few years, from Northstar to the Menzingers, but there's one sonic oddity here: The record is awfully trebly, especially on Keep This's poppier front half. It's all vocals and guitars, and while some might argue the mix is just playing to the band's strengths, the barely-there mids and rhythm would have likely added a more firm lower end. It's not completely bothersome, but it is noticeable.

Amid the record's strong theme of communication via the written or verbal word comes a series of hidden phrases in the liner notes. Truth be told, it's an alpha-numeric code that's easily cracked by the key on the CD, and they're all just essentially single lyrics ripped from the songs. That not-so-complex system sums up Keep This to Yourself perfectly: This record isn't nearly as sinuous as it might present itself--or as transcendent as its creators are capable of--but it's hardly a totally transparent effort, either. Call it a record of transition.

STREAM
Please Head North
Footwork
A Living Diary

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Big_Guy (October 4, 2010)

seriously, what is up with the fucking preorder? it's only 2 months late. the idea of a preorder is to get your shit before or on the day of release.

icapped2pac (October 3, 2010)

Well, considering I ordered the vinyl (which may never arrive) and didn't have the lyric sheet until I got a CD at the show (plus the fact that my brain obviously wanted the metaphor to work), you'll have to cut me some slack. I listened with a closer ear again last night and I was like, "motherfucker, Brian was right". God damnit.

inagreendase (October 2, 2010)

2pac: The lyric's right in the liner notes: "He threw too many stones."

highopes (October 2, 2010)

this shit rules. best thing they have done yet.

icapped2pac (October 2, 2010)

I can see where you're coming from on a lot of these points, but on the whole I find that this album's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. It's not where I saw them going after "Stay Home" either, but I'm still just as happy...and I'm usually one of the first people to bail on a band when I think they've gotten too poppy. I take umbrage with your declaration of the first half being overly poppy, too, because I don't consider the first three songs being very poppy at all. In some respects I do wish this had more of an edge to it (and yes, the production does seem a little too shiny at times), but even if it did I couldn't see myself enjoying it any more simply because the catchiness is outstanding. Really, the more I think about it, the more I feel it should be referred to as "catchy" rather than "poppy". The two are not necessarily the same. And to me (especially after last night's show) these so-called "poppy" moments don't sound anything like the redundantly vanilla pop moments of a Fireworks or Man Overrated. And despite what the production may have done to shadow them, I really think the rhythm section of Mr. Jefferson and young Mr. Frazier do some outstanding work here. The fill before the "My Bleeding heart..." part in "Footwork" has caused me to nearly drive off the road many times because I simply can't listen to it without air drumming along. And the brooding beginning part to "Cross This Out" is really outstanding as well. On top of that, I think "Dear Anyone" is right up there with "Stay Home" for being one of the best lead tracks on any release I've ever heard. The part where it's just bass and drums before the "my knuckles bleed" part is another favorite of mine. I could go on and on, but to sum it all up, I respectfully disagree with the score even if I agree that it's not really what I expected. I really have no major bitches or disappointment with this at all. Oh and finally, I could've sworn I hear a "they" before "threw too many stones", thereby making that metaphor make sense. Just sayin'.

skolarx (October 2, 2010)

maybe i need to give the cd a shot but live all i could think of when i saw these guys last night was that they sounded like a second rate movielife.

Alien (October 1, 2010)

In all fairness.. I love this album. One of my favorites this year.
Maybe not as good as the Stay Home ep, but I love it.

nickdiesel (October 1, 2010)

Solid review.

xshoutoutx (October 1, 2010)

I need to give it more time... but for right now, is sounding WAY too "drive-thru" for me.

mikexdude (October 1, 2010)

This record is so good. Easily the best thing they've ever done; the riffs are mind blowing, the lyrics are spot on, the tempos are varied. One of my very few complaints with transit is that I didn't feel like their songs breathed very well (especially Stay Home), but these do. Good job. Here's hoping they go further with the indie, and less with the pop in the future.

Blackjaw_ (October 1, 2010)

Man, I hate to be like one of those pretentious, overly backpatting kids over on AbsolutePunk, but I gotta say, this is a really great review.

Blackjaw_ (October 1, 2010)

I liked their previous stuff, but something(s) about this make it unlistenable for me. The production is definitely a major factor. I'll stop there because I do really have nothing against this band and I don't want to be an ass.

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