Transit – “Joyride” Review

Posted: by Colin

If you throw every Transit album in a blender, add in roughly 5 to 7 years of grueling cross-country experience, the maturity that develops while on the road, and a slightly clearer vision, the end product is Joyride. Mixing influences and sounds from previous releases, Joyride is a mature, and logical continuation of what has come before, resulting in a product that is just as distinctly Transit as anything else in their discography.

“Saturday, Sunday” is the album’s second song, and it sets the precedent. Without giving away the album’s features too early on, it does well to showcase the band’s everlasting ability to write songs containing lean verses that fluently and purposefully transition into rich choruses and finish with enormously reflective moments. However, this is by no means a safe or manufactured Transit song, as it features the album’s most chaotic moment with the band urging listeners to endure and persist “And I’ll be alright, alright – and you’ll be okay, okay”.

Unlike similar climatic moments on previous albums, Transit does not break down in order to put itself back together. “Rest To Get Better” continues right where the second track left off. Repetitious, fast guitars, and intricate drum work, give way for a nostalgic verse from Joe Boynton as he exclaims, “You think you get honest, you only get meaner. You think it gets better, you only break cleaner. Admit that you’re a liar, admit that you need her, you think it gets better you only break cleaner.” If nothing else, “Rest To Get Better” showcases Boynton’s signature lyrics that are filled with fire and flare. Not to be outdone by Boynton, the first half of the song also demonstrates the group’s instrumental growth over the past couple of years. The band’s reluctance to enter into a full-fledged, long chorus up until 1:40 into the song is something listeners have not heard from the band previously. This makes it even more rewarding when the hook does come.

After the journey through the first 4 songs, comes the album’s only deep breath. “Nothing Left To Lose” features smooth tones and lyrics that are reflective and unwinding. The song serves as a stunningly relatable narrative for any 20-something who has ever had a long night, either fun or regret filled.

As lively and compelling as the first half of Joyride is, it’s the back half where Transit begins to experiment with their sound in a more significant way. These risks result in a big reward. Back-to-back-to-back tracks 7-9 (“Fine By Me”, “Loneliness Burns”, and “Summer Dust”) are each unique and unmistakable, yet form a cohesive palette that fits well within the context of the album.

“Fine By Me” is similar to “Rest To Get Better” in the sense that it also restrains itself in hopes of delivering a more magnificent ending, and it does just that. At risk of sounding cheesy, the music does hit in a way that supports Boynton’s claims of being cut down like a knife. “Loneliness Burns” is quite the contrary. A piano interlude precedes a bubbly chorus with bleak, yearning lyrics about fall. It’s an experimental song that lets listeners ponder some of the band’s undisclosed, otherwise hidden influences. Although it is in stark contrast to anything Transit has done before, it doesn’t fly in at an unsuspecting or awkward level, and it feels more like a soothing hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day.

The last song in the sequence is aptly named “Summer Dust” – a likely reference to a line in the title track of Listen & Forgive, which the song also seems to be a response too. Transit has long flirted with the idea of creating that perfect pop song, but has never fully committed to it. “All Your Heart” and “So Long, So Long” come to mind, and while they stand out as tremendous songs on their respective albums, I’m hesitant to call them pop songs. With this in mind, make no doubt about it, “Summer Dust” is a full-fledged pop-anthem which wouldn’t feel too far astray if it just happened to land in the middle of a Head Automatica album.

The album finishes with the juggernaut that is “Follow Me”, Joyride’s second longest track. It’s a patient, waning song and a defining moment for Transit illustrating the band’s comfort with where they are and have been, without seeming complacent about the future. “Follow Me” feels right in its time and place, not only on the album, but also within the band’s discography. The song paints a picture, and shapes a lasting memory, for whatever interpretation you want to pull from Joyride.

Joyride is a breath of fresh air for fans, and more importantly, the band itself. There’s growth, gamble, ambition and adversity within this record. Transit have retooled and redefined themselves for whatever may come next. They’ve successfully set a precedent on how they hope to find new inspirations and new ways to touch upon topics that they’ve been writing about for the greater part of a decade. The passion and energy are contagious throughout the album, and it is only further accented by Joe Boynton’s most crisp and sophisticated lyrical and vocal performance to date. Joyride is a story, an experience, and an exploration, that should not be missed or forgotten.

– Colin