For the past few years, the pop-punk genre has been a punching bag of twinkles and nasally high-pitched voices that effectively
destroyed what the genre built itself on a decade ago.
Transit, a Massachusetts five-piece that has seeped their way into the scene with their honest and infectious lyrics, seemed to defy this notion with their stellar former releases. Unfortunately, Listen & Forgive — their debut on Rise Records — begins to fall into this trap.
The first track “You Can’t Miss It (It’s Everywhere)” starts off with what we would expect from a Transit release, but overall something never seems quite right – which is a common theme throughout the remainder of the album.
Luckily, “Long Lost Friends,” the album’s second track, is by far the best on the album and perfects the blend of streamlined musicianship and relevant lyrics that would have made this album much better if the rest of the songs were able to emulate. I dare someone not to immediately be brought to heart-wrenching memories when they listen to the song’s chorus of “Lately you’ve been looking at me like you’ve seen a ghost / and isn’t it obvious who’s been missing who the most?”
“All Your Heart,” one of the album’s middle tracks, in particular seems as if it suffers from too many anthemic ambitions rather than sticking to the heart and soul that fills every line of the song. The grit and angst littering their former releases are simply lost beneath a layer of pop. Listen & Forgive sounds more like a Man Overboard release than what we have come to expect from Transit.
“Cutting Corners” and “Stepping Stone” jump out in the middle of the album and offer a taste of what could have been as guitar rhythms and powerful vocals permeate through “Cutting Corners,” and the slowed down tempo of “Stepping Stone” evokes the emotions “Outbound” had on Stay Home. However, after these the album putters to an end and does not offer the cathartic ending one would expect from a pop-punk album.
My guess is that this entire album suffers from poor choices in the production department and each of Listen & Forgive’s songs would likely translate much better in a live format. Nevertheless, the anticipation leading up to this album did not match the results leaving it quite obvious “whose been missing who the most” — me missing the past Transit releases.