Transit - This Will Not Define Us (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


This Will Not Define Us (2008)


Transit's Let It Out EP was a simple CD-R release from a really young New England act who operated under the clear influence of bands like Fairweather and Lifetime. Appropriately, their full-length followup, while falling just short of greatness, is even more promising.

Featuring stronger songs and more punchy production (the latter courtesy of the Getaway Group's Jay Maas and Max McCarthy), This Will Not Define Us finds the band really coming into their own. Transit still play emotional pop-punk of the early Fairweather variety, but there's a much more original feel here, as well as serious hints of post-Blackout! Crime in Stereo influence at work -- check out the abruptly quiet part in "For the World," where vocalist Joe Boynton declares, "You are the torch that lights the way / through the darkest times in my life / like coals that would burn beneath my feet to keep me moving on" over subtly noodly guitars.

Boynton sings with a mildly nasal yet endearing delivery, and if it ever seems overbearing, no worries; he's backed up by alternately gruff and semi-cutesy vocal assistance from guitarists Tim Landers and Joe Lacy. They help create a serious dynamic that would resemble Hot Water Music if they contributed more; the gruffer dude in particular gives Transit's songs an incredibly desperate and gripping feel, sort of like Polar Bear Club's The Redder, The Better (see the end of "For the World"). Hmm, maybe this guy should start his own band...

Seriously though, This Will Not Define Us isn't chock full of consistent hits (the nearly five-minute "Empty Shell" probably won't retain your interest the whole way through), but highlights still abound. Tempo changes and some fluid double-time appear in the re-recorded "Castaway," as well as "Changing Season." "Radio Flyer (Away from Home)" has an incredibly tired cliché -- "so turn up the radio / and keep singin' on and on" -- but Boynton sings it with so much earnestness and honesty that you find yourself giving him a pass at one moment and singing along with him the next; his true-to-life, youthful revelation ("Is it just me or does everyone seem better off away from home?") really makes the song. The chorus in "Deadweight" is another heartbreaker.

This Will Not Define Us should indeed follow its title's forecast, but Transit's official debut comes very close anyway. I'd start writing Merriam-Webster now, because their sophomore release will imaginably fulfill the aforementioned daunting task.

Radio Flyer (Away from Home)
Rules of Nines
For the World
Lexington Park, 11:33