Different...but still Transit
Listen & Forgive was an absolutely phenomenal album from these guys that showed major improvement on all levels from their earlier work. So to say the least, my expectations were very high for Young New England. For the most part, it has lived up to them. There has definitly been a slight change in style again which is to be expected from each Transit release. This is overall softer and slower than any previous Transit album. This is ok though, because the new change in style is executed well. A good example of this is the single "Nothing Lasts Forever". A softer, catchier song than any previous openers, I hated it at first, but it's grown on me. The whole album has grown on me over all of the times I have listened to it actually, so give it a chance if you don't like it as much. One of the bigger changes exemplified in Young New England is the vocals have changed pretty substantially. Now they are sung in a lower key and it seems to be more in Joe's comfort range. I don't like this change as much because I previously loved the range in the older Transit records. However, it works pretty well for the change in style on the album. Overall, this may be a dissapointment to some Transit fans (it was to me at first). It's not as good as Listen & Forgive, but it's a really good album in itself if you give it a chance. Also, it's got a summer vibe to it so I'll be jamming it this Summer for sure.
The sound of a band trying to breakout of the pop-punk mold
I've always felt that Transit was a diamond in the rough, as well as a band impatiently trying to push the envelope with every release (and they've put out more music than most bands do in an entire career). The Death Cab-like guitar harmonies and melodies that are emblematic of the Transit sound (as changeable as it has been, release to release) are very much present--which will relieve a lot of Transit's fans--and they achieve nearly Explosions In The Sky beauty at times throughout this record. That said, the noodling harmonies and melodies are the same as you heard in the guitarwork on every prior Transit release...same great guitar work, but exactly the same as on Listen & Forgive. I hope the guitarists really push themselves in the future because it gets monotonous and predictable listening to them on Young New England. But the real problem that weighs down this record like upside-down anchor on its cover art are the vocals and the lyrics. The main singer's nasally vocals have always seemed pushed to their limit in every song this band has ever put out, but they truly seem left behind, rushed and barely in tune on this album, on each and every song. The great poetry of Transit's last album LISTEN & FORGIVE has been given up for feels like "poppier/more anthemic" verses and choruses that just sound less heartfelt, more trite and oorly delivered. Let's just put it this way: if this was an instrumental album, I'd give it 3-4 stars. Hopefully as this band continues to rush out releases that they'll take a step back and try to find their identity and sound, because at this point it's hard to tell who or what they're trying to be. That in and of itself isn't a crime, but given how so many of their fellow bands are moving forward with great, well-delivered, innovative releases that are rightfully garnering praise from all directions, Transit runs the risk of being an afterthought, which would really be too bad considering all the great music they've put out before.
A Really Good Album
Transit's "Listen & Forgive" was by far one of the best albums of 2011, so the bar was set quite high for this new release. Despite it being a solid album, "Young New England" does not live up to the high expectations but is an excellent Transit nonetheless! Buy it and support a great band!