The New Transit Direction - Wonderful Defense Mechanisms (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The New Transit Direction

Wonderful Defense Mechanisms (2004)


Disappointment, frustration, and indifference: the three things that hit me the hardest when The New Transit Direction graced my stereo with their Wonderful Defense Mechanisms. The debut full-length from the reserved, melancholic indie rockers finds them lacking the ability to harness their own. While TNTD is certainly creative in using their guitar-driven ballads to try and get all points across, most of these points simply stop midway. It's clear they've got the creativity to make something that grabs the listener by the throat only to calm them down with soft, cantering melodies, which they do occasionally, but their annoying overindulgence on awkward start/stop rhythms fronting mostly bland, boring moments kills any chance for what could be a great cohesiveness. Think of early Northstar with an emphasis on slow, Midwest rock over Long Island pop-punk, a more filled-out sound, aurally, and more filler, physically. Jon Congleton (90 Day Men, The Paper Chase) does a wonderful job at the knobs, though. WDM's producer/mixer expands the atmospheric conditions of the mellowest moments on the disc while leaving the more rocking moments as is and mixing up the effects on the vocals well. Sure, it's got its aforementioned flashes of brilliance; take the nifty splashes of riffing across "To the Sea," the distorted vocal yelps in opener "Fictional," the drum stick-snicker of "Pieces," or the more accessible, albeit sincere chorus of "Houston." Times like these are scattered all over the album – why can't they all be in the same song? And if they could, would a song this strong appear more than once? I know there are some great tracks waiting to be written from these guys, but seeing as how this is only a debut, their patience to do so suits fine as a wonderful defense mechanism. MP3s
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