The New Transit Direction
Wonerful Defense Mechanisms
Who? Salt Lake City post-punk band whose latest full-length is produced by Jon Congleton (paper chase, 90 Day Men).
Sounds Like? Straight ahead post-punk augmented with whiny emo vocals and syncopated guitar riffs that we haven't heard since Jawbox's heydey.
How Is It? TNTD borrow heavily from their influences, but when your influences are Burning Airlines and Jawbox, can you blame them?
Rocks Like: Burning Airlines, Jawbox, Dismemberment Plan
From an initial viewpoint, the New Transit Direction has the deck stacked against it, at least in regard to discerning itself from the current glut of emo acts. The guys in The Used wear their shirts. They've opened for Taking Back Sunday. And, honestly, what does their name even mean? It all seems like a stock equation for a whiny, girl-jean-wearing outfit trying their best to hit the Sunny Day Real Estate hole in the ski-ball game of imitation, but coming up short and sounding more like Early November. Just 10 points. Oh well.
Wonderful Defense Mechanisms plays a whole different game. The band left the ski-ball alley and now sits at the American post-hardcore pinball machine, and it just scored, like, zillions of points with its arty synthesis of Fugazi's urgency and the yearning heartbreak of Jawbreaker. Yeah, it's kinda emo, and Bert probably gives 'em props, but the New Transit Direction stumbled upon a pretty solid sound. And in this flashy, slim-on-substance arcade of Starting Lines and Stories of the Year, the group deserves some credit.
"Fictional" starts off Mechanisms with dirty bass grumbles that wouldn't sound out of place on a Big Black record, before wiry guitar stabs and vocals with an affinity for Milemarker/Challenger's Al Burian pierce holes in the rhythm section's cold blanket of post-punk. Imagining these guys' set before a rousing rendition of "Cute Without the 'E'" is sort of like picturing Slayer opening for Journey - it just doesn't make sense.
"Out the Lights" crawls along in post-punk slumber, its anthemic chorus channeling At the Drive-In at its most emo, as guitars wail and drums kick and shimmy in oft-intriguing angles. "Mechanical Failure" again invokes the aforementioned, much-missed Texan rockers with eerie, delay-driven six-string shimmers and another shout-along refrain. Still, the fact that few of the ideas Mechanisms presents are original is troublesome. So many bands have done this type of thing before - bands that NTD has obviously studied up on - and the group really doesn't add much to the genre.
But, with a relatively fresh sound and an enthusiastic delivery, it's hard to deny that the New Transit Direction's Wonderful Defense Mechanisms is a solid record. Regardless of the group's dubious tour mates and "check out my record collection" vibe, their eager attempt at cold, angular post-punk soars much more often than it stumbles.
- Alex Frank
A little reminiscent of Brand New's Your Favorite Weapon at parts (emphasis on a little - I'm not quite sure what it is but I always get that feeling listening to it), The New Transit Direction has a catchy sound with jazzy/funky hooks for a little different sound. Not quite something we've never heard, but not quite something we've heard all about, this band has the right combination to go places.
Maybe they went a little overkill on the vocal distortions at times, but the overall sound is very catchy and ear-pleasing. Vocalist Josh Asher has a pretty good voice when it isn't distorted, so don't think that they're lacking here. The guitar hooks on track two, "Survival 101", and track 8, "To the Sea", will get everyone feeling the music and bobbing their head and in a good mood. The only thing is that at times, it seems like we've heard the same rhythm a few times already in a couple different songs.
Lacking any slow, quiet "emo" song, they do manage to pull some emotion out into their songs. In "Mechanical Failure", track 7 on the CD, the use of quick and constant guitar notes builds up some feeling of intensity at times. Not the intensity where you go nuts and kill people, the kind where you feel like you're about to snap when it gets too much and it's pretty cool how it's mixed subtly into the song. The following song, "To the Sea", has funkiest guitar rhythm ever, and I love listening to it every time. It honestly makes me want to dance, if it were just a longer part of the piece.
For a band out of Mormon central, lacking any scene whatsoever, the band managed to get its name out to tour with the likes of the Blood Brothers, the Used, and Taking Back Sunday and get their demos out everywhere. Wonderful Defense Mechanisms is an awesome album to fit right into your collection of CDs and definitely not feel out of place. Everything is up to par for what you could expect from a well-known band, proving that they have the ability to make a name for themselves.
Rating: 7.2 out of 10
LAST LIFE MEDIA
There are certain bands and people in this crazy punk rock world of ours that just the mention of can bring strong undercurrents of quality. My entire opinion of this band is pretty bias as I had already heard of them because of their work with the motherfucking man, J. Robbins. The band mentions influences like Jawbreaker and Fugazi, following the rule that making good music starts out by listening to it. I could hear the Jawbreaker influence on this band, but it is musically more aggressive and mathy. The New Transit Direction is a band that knows how to stop/break and does so fairly often. I only wish this could be captured on the CD a little better. It lacks the intensity of an At the Drive In or a Bear Vs. Shark on CD, but you can easily tell that they have it live. The singer is also fairly melodic to be in a band like this. It's sort of a high shout that some how manages to harmonize with the music. The rhythms change mood through out a song, with the melancholy powerchords that remind me a lot of Jawbreaker. I liked the lyrics too, they worked for the albums music, take this example from "Anonymous."
"Turn off the headlights/take it slow/we don't have don't have anywhere to go, away from here. Someone just screamed to me, and I couldn't quite make it out, yours or mine?"
Over all, it's a solid record worth your attention if you like like interesting post-punk acts such as Jawbreaker and Jawbox.
Noisy while still being melodic, Utah's New Transit Direction provides the best of both worlds (emo and Jawbreaker-punk), starting out their first album, "Wonderful Defense Mechanisms" with the full-sounding "Fictional". Moving to incorporate some of the early-nineties Soundgarden/Tad metal-brand of grunge in "Survival 101", The New Transit Direction still varies things enough to ensure listeners can never draw a bead on the band. Josh's vocals occupy a middle space where Levi's bass and Dan's high hats occupy the low and high levels of the recording, providing three distinct levels at which to enjoy the music. Pushing forward "Means to an End" are the aforementioned drums of Dan as well as a heavier, more polemic style of guitar lines. Not quite emo, rock, or any one genre of music, the incredible musicianship that Wonderful Defense Mechanisms has rivals any disc that has came out in the last few years. The only band that I could conceivably compare TNTD with would have to be Switchfoot, which has the same mix of musical influences and omnipresent, sizzling guitars.
The arrangement of the drum lines found on "Three Word Distrust" comes at a crucial point on the disc, where many bands fall into a rut as they've explored all possible places in their comfort zone, but The New Transit Direction get their second wind by this track "Three Word Distrust" is the most open-spaces and involved we see the band, using double-part harmonies to push the power level to max. Incorporating hair metal to the mix for "Out the Lights", TNTD continues the rich feel of the disc while not allowing the track to be an exercise in radio-prostration. While there are some wonderfully-wrought vocal inflections on the disc and moments in which the emotional investment ties Josh and the listener base, the average listener will be much more into the disc than to repeat lyrics like a lemming.
The intensity of "Mechanical Failure" is symbolic for the larger entity of the disc, with Tool-like guitars fueling the power of Josh's vocals. "Wonderful Defense Mechanisms" will never be the next "Ocean Avenue", but I would put forth that WDM will have the greater impact on musicians, where OA will be found in dollar CD piles at yard sales across the United States by this time next year. Pick this album up if you really want to know what emotional rock is.
Top Tracks: Three Word Distrust, Fictional
Dear The New Transit Direction,
Hi guys, my name is Jon. Much like yourselves, I'm a true believer. Music has been a way of life for me since childhood. I play it, I read about it, I write about it, I buy it, I talk about it, and, above all else, I love to see it live. I'd like to say up front that I'm glad that we share this. I also want to congratulate you guys on your dedication to the cause. We're gonna call rock 'n' roll a cause from now on, but we'll talk more about that in a minute. You guys packed up all your shit, left Salt Lake City (my deepest sympathies, by the way) and headed to DC to lay some tracks with J. Robbins. That was a ballsy move, no doubt about it. You guys wanted this pretty bad. You took that three-song EP and toured the country with it, opening up for pretty popular bands like the Used, Taking Back Sunday and the Blood Brothers. I bet that made you even hungrier didn't it? Those guys were playing for some packed houses, weren't they? I can't blame you.
So you stuck with it, you kept touring and look what happened: you got signed. Some Records ain't the majors, but it's a damn fine place to start. I mean Walter Schriefels owns that label, doesn't he? That guy is, like, one of my all-time heroes. And do you know why? Because he's been doing his own thing for years now. And that's what I want to talk to you guys about. There comes a time in every true believer's life that he or she has to come to see rock 'n' roll as a movement that spans the last 100 years. It started down in the Mississippi Delta cotton fields and backwater juke joint and hillbilly ho-downs as works songs and blues and country and bluegrass and from there it found its way into recording studios. It went overseas and drove the kids wild and they brought it back over here and a social revolution erupted. And that revolution keeps erupting every few years. There were hippies and punks and new-wavers and hardcore maniacs and hip-hoppers and that lineage has led right to the four of you. It's truly amazing how blessed you are. To witness this amazing journey is a daily joy for me as I'm sure it is for you. But what each and every one of us needs to keep in mind is that unless you contribute directly to the advancement of the cause then you are in the way of progress. One way to impede progress is to limit your focus. Another far worse way is by curtailing your expectations and settling for duplication. If, for instance, you aim to sound like your favorite band from the past 10 or 15 years, thus ignoring the hard work of previous decades, then you are not only selling yourselves short, you're making it far too easy for the rest of us to ignore your efforts. I'm sorry guys, but it had to be said.
Now don't get upset. You guys don't have a bad sound. I like Jawbox. And Jawbreaker, too. Your songs are angular, which is fine with me. They might be a little cold and intellectual in their arrangement and dynamics for some, but that's their loss right? One problem is that your vocals are all cuddly anger. It's popular right now, but I really don't think it's gonna hold up over time. Rock has prospered because of people who weren't afraid to be themselves and make a distinct statement. And I'm sure that's your intention, as well. You've got the energy. Your rhythms are quite propulsive. The guitars snarl in fits and starts and you've got plenty catchy choruses and cool riffs, but these individual parts don't add up to an identity outside of your chosen genre. Look backward for inspiration. If you don't you just might fall prey to the pimp machine that makes bands like the Used and Taking Back Sunday into minor celebrities. I don't want you guys mooning over stadium shows and video game soundtracks when there's more important work to be done. If you fail to put in the time we're all gonna suffer. Don't let that happen. Cheers.
FEAST OF HATE AND FEAR
Formed in 2000 in the Mormon state of Utah - Salt Lake City, Mormon headquarters, to be exact. I won't hold that against them, though I do believe in polygamy. No, seriously, one of the first things I have to say is... thank you. I hear so many emo and indie-rock bands that have a certain effect on the vocals that is just so 'Mtv'. Attempting to sound soulful or 'full of life' (horrid boy bands do this too!), while TNTD's vocals are straight up for real. No harmonics or flare, just a guy doing his best scream/sing, full of emotion (and a little piss and vinegar here and there). I do like the emo stuff, so it was nice to get a band that isn't heavy (for a change), while keeping my interest at the same time. The music is reminicent of Samiam and some early Jets to Brazil, with some of today's independent rock touches (more melodic harmonies, acoustic guitars in the background, less punk aesthetic and sound, better recording, etc). This LP busts open with "Fictional", an infectious hooky number. "Means to an End" was a bit 70's rock inspired tune, with a little reggae feel. "Out the Lights" is possibly the slowest song on here - very quiet and ballad-like, but still catching my ear. "Pieces" ends the disc and brings back the good ol' fashioned hard rock. Always good to go out on something that leaves the heart pounding. Um, one thing... no lyrics?
SALT LAKE CITY WEEKLY
Never underestimate the importance of pants to rock drummers-namely, The New Transit Direction's Dan Whitesides. As of two hours ago, Whitesides and his mates Josh Asher (vocals, guitar), Jake Hawley (guitar) and Levi Lebo (bass) are no longer in transit; they're home from a three-week tour that bounced them like Superballs around the country. But, though they're home, there's no time to relax. "Not really," says Whitesides. "I have to answer a ton of e-mail then go buy me some pants."
Let's get on with it, then.
When last we spoke with Salt Lake City's New Transit Direction, Whitesides had pants. The band had done some touring, been off to Florida or someplace to lay tracks with indie-rock Midas producer J. Robbins, were passing out the resulting three-song EP, and enjoying the benefits of having The Used's guitarist, Quinn Allman, wearing a New Transit T-shirt in very public places. What's different now is you take J. Robbins out of the equation and substitute TNTD's debut album, Wonderful Defense Mechanisms (on respected New York indie label Some Records) for the EP. And Whitesides needs pants.
See, he only took four pair on tour with him, and wore two. Any good touring rocker, after going from Salt Lake City to Erie, Pa., (with label-mates and fellow hometown boys Form of Rocket) back to Denver and through Salt Lake City (with The Used) and over to Chicago (back with FoR) through Arkansas and Texas and home again-in three weeks-would bring the four pairs back stiff 'n' stinky. Whitesides' two pairs are, in his words, "pretty hammered." It matters, because The New Transit Direction tours hard and plays hard. Some of it, Whitesides and Asher will talk about. And some, they won't.
"There are some bad stories I don't really wanna tell," says Whitesides. Asher tells the CleanFlicks version-so not to sully the reps of Form of Rocket-of drunkenly trespassing, post-gig, at a hotel swimming pool. Whitesides gives the condensed version of the night he and FoR guitarist Peter Markowski spent in the bathroom singing a duet into the porcelain mic. Other than that, and some frequent flag-football scrimmages with Form of Rocket (the resulting grass stains contributed to Whitesides' pants problem), they're mum. But their nervous laughter leads one to believe there were doozies we'll have to wait for Form of Rocket to divulge.
"Tour, with those guys," says Asher, "is always just fun-a blast, a good time because the camaraderie between the two bands when we go out, it's like you never know what to expect. We act like kids on the road."
The camaraderie between the two bands is how The New Transit Direction find themselves signed to Some Records, the label headed by hardcore gadabout Sammy Siegler (Rival Schools, Civ, Gorilla Biscuits). When Siegler was in SLC checking up on the process of Form of Rocket's Some Records debut, singer-guitarist Curtis Jensen had him listen in on a TNTD rehearsal. He liked it, and the band chose Some over a short list of major and indie labels who'd also offered their arms.
The fruit of the deal is the aforementioned Wonderful Defense Mechanisms, an album of The New Transit Direction's best songs, galvanized and streamlined for national consumption. It's catchy, like TNTD's hardcore-y emo can be, but also fierce-although the band and this writer will tell you it doesn't quite prepare you for their live show. And live is how TNTD aims to bring it for the next year or so as they tour yet more.
"We want this to be our job," says Whitesides. "There are a gajillion bands and only about a billion get deals [laughs], so I'm not gonna lie to you: We wanna push this record and make some money."
Yes, yes-if only to replace ruined pants.
I don't even care if this Salt Lake City quartet is made up of a bunch of dorky Mormon musicians. They're good enough to overcome that. Using angular/mathy guitar parts with smart, creative rhythms, and sincere but not overpowering vocals, TNTD crafts picture perfect indie rock songs, full of passionate energy. The music crescendos with expertise, drawing me into the infectious grooves, building to 'rock-out' level and truly letting loose, feedback flying, drums pounding. (CM)
RISE AND REVOLT
Salt Lake City, Utah's own New Transit Direction is a four piece rock outfit that seems to stick to the guidelines, but some how break free from the constraints of your everday rock band. Wonderful Defense Mechanisms shows off their ability to lace together a poppy indie rock / power pop sound with spacey guitar lines and a very articulated, definitive vocal style. The New Transit Direction have taken over, and they've set a new standard. Approach with caution, kids, this one's a scorcher. If you've spent a good portion of your days listening to Jade Tree, Doghouse, or Saddle Creek releases, this one should fare well with you.
Salt Lake City, the religious hot spot of the US of A, and also the home of this band. The New Transit Direction (TNTD) formed a wee four years ago, and started playing rock music in the vein of Jawbreaker and Jawbox. A wee two years later, they played with The Blood Brothers, The Used, and Taking Back Sunday. Needless to say, TNTD has something going. And indeed, they sound pretty fresh, emotional and their songs rock. Now, TNTD have a lot of potential that, if marketed smartly, can earn them a lot of success.
Salt Lake City's NEW TRANSIT DIRECTION hammer out eleven songs of jagged, angular indie rock on their full-length debut for Some Records. With a marked influence from bands like JAWBOX, BURNING AIRLINES, and maybe a little RIVAL SCHOOLS, there's an air of maturity and cleverness to "Wonderful Defense Mechanisms" that is so often found lacking in less focused bands.
It took me a bunch of extra spins to really get comfortable with "Wonderful Defense Mechanisms" as the first two songs on here are fairly bland compared to the way this mid-section of this disc opens it. Initial impressions are hard to adjust. Tracks three and four, "Means to an End," and "Anonymous," feature NEW TRANSIT DIRECTION in its best light - with a slow-to-mid-tempo heavy plodding that builds up generously against controlling lead vocals and sublte guitar theatrics. The sixth song, "Three word distrust," feels a little out of left field at first with an electric acoustic bent that reminds me of something from JIMMY EAT WORLD's "Clarity." This song however segues nicely into the seventh track, the ominously creeping "Mechanical Failure." The eighth track, "To the sea," takes more than three minutes before it really gets going, but the sing-along finish is full of spright, and memorable on a release that doesn't contain to many comparable moments. NEW TRANSIT DIRECTION drop their heaviest track on the ninth tune, "Conditions," which generates some healthy post-hardcore angst through slicing dual guitars and flailing vocals.
"Wonderful Defense Mechanisms," is a pretty cool release, and its chilly, dynamic vibe is well-suited for listening in a work environment where blasting music on eleven is not an option.
- Jordan A. Baker
NOW ON TOUR
Being from Utah, I consider myself spoiled. One wouldn't think, but Utah actually has itself quite a scene (look no further than Her Candane). The pride and joy of the Salt Lake City indie rock scene is no other than hard-rocking The New Transit Direction (who have just finished tours with Eighteen Visions, The (International) Noise Conspiracy among others). Born from such local hardcore bands (Clear, Sandkicker and The Kill), one would look at their resume and think that they would invoke a mosh-fest. Quite the contrary. The New Transit Direction has an unmistakable rock and roll sound influenced by D.C. post-hardcore and pop that they've been crafting for four years. The culmination of their work for those years comes to a head onWonderful Defense Mechanisms, their first for Some Records.
The album starts off with the lo-fi sounding "Fictional." The listener is led to believe the quality of the recording will change, exploding into the song. Well, the song explodes, but the quality of the recording doesn't. With that aside, the album stays in high gear, with drummer Dan Whitesides and bassist Levi Lebo pile-driving their way through "Survival 101" and guitarist Jake Hawley and singer/guitarist Josh Asher showing their D.C. post-hardcore roots with the guitar harmonics of "Anonymous" and machine gun muffles during "Means To An End." It's when you get through "Three Word Distrust" that you're convinced that The New Transit Direction write superb, epic rock songs.
So, it seems like I really like the album. That statement is most definitely correct. But getting back to me being spoiled for living in Utah, I'm able to see them live. Their music detonates live. The production on the album hides the greatest qualities about The New Transit Direction. For example, Josh Asher's voice, which seems to be hidden by useless vocal effects or just buried in the mix ("Out The Lights"). Also, live, their rhythm section of Whitesides and Lebo is relentless, sometimes downright brutal, but somehow on Wonderful Defense Mechanisms they sound lost in the sonic quagmire.
Please, do not let the recording imperfections deter you from listening to this amazing rock band. The songs are amazing on an album where production seemed like it was a lower priority. You owe it to yourself to listen to songs this Utah music geek has been rocking out to for years. Wonderful Defense Mechanisms is an amazing collection of rock songs. One would be a fool to pass up listening to one of Salt Lake City's best kept secrets before they're selling out clubs across the nation.
SAN DIEGO PUNK
I've been listening to this CD quite a bit since I received it to review. That should immediately give away the fact that I like it. TNTD leans toward the technical side of things. You will not hear basic guitar progressions and vocal patterns on this release. Rather, you will hear a lot of creative riffing and separation/independence between the instruments. Do not mistake this description for a chaotic sound though. The songs are very cohesive and the band's influences are obvious. Burning Airlines and Jawbox are very similar comparisons. In fact, I think I read somewhere that J Robbins helped these guys out on some of their recordings. I could be wrong. One of the main reasons I have enjoyed this CD so much has to do with the vocals. It is uncanny how much these guys resemble Seaweed at times. Seaweed is a band that hits my top 10 list every time, and I miss them a great deal. TNTD was sent from a supernatural place to fill that void for me. At times, the vocalist is on the verge of exceeding his upper range. This along with his sometimes lengthy sustains can be sort of annoying at first. It grew on me though. Now it all just sounds energetic and heartfelt to me. Back that up with some very dynamic instrumentation and there you have the greatness that is TNTD. The music is not only dynamic from a playing stand-point. There was also a bit of work done in the mixing & mastering stages of this cd. As an example, there is the occasional telephone effect on the voice, and a few strange Doppler like fade in's & out's just to mention a couple. One thing I was wondering about was track# 4 titled Anonymous. There is riff on there that sure sounds awfully familiar to that ever so popular radio song by Switchfoot. There's no way these guys stole that though. It's just not possible! At any rate, I very much appreciated the hard work that was obviously put into this release.
With the members of Superchunk working hard to make Merge Records successful, they have devoted less time to the Chunk's music. That slack has been tried to be picked up by Salt Lake City's the New Transit Direction. After a self-titled and self-released three song EP in 2001, TNTD began to pick up attention and pushed to explore the East Coast where their sound really lived. This led to a deal with Some Records and now their first full-length. On this eleven-track debut for Some, TNTD truly sound like the early recordings of Superchunk - most specifically, the Tossing Seeds era. That there are very few bands that try to match the Chunk's indie-clunk, I suppose this is a refreshing parallel. Besides from similar song constructions, the thing that pushes TNTD to this comparison is the vocals Josh Asher. His mimicking of Mac's nasally-pitched vocals makes you double check that he isn't in the band. This record has done a really unique job of both pleasuring my ears and annoying the shit out of me. All of the eleven tracks have elements and sections that are appealing, but at the same time there are parts that you wish didn't exist - very bizarre. It's like creating a visceral reaction in both directions all in the same breath. It may be some kind of anger at how TNTD sound just like Superchunk, but that I like the sound. So there are songs like "Means To An End" and "Anonymous" with catchy guitars and vocals that eases recall where all the songs are roughly the same length. But none of the tracks are so blissful awesome that you hit repeat and forgive the band. Other tracks that bring you in include "Houston" and "Fictional." With some time passed, I think I'll be able to come out of the liking limbo hole that I'm in with this band. I'm glad that a band like TNTD exists in SLC since all things I've ever heard about that city and independent music revolved around insane straight-edge kids.
TNTD limber up on the first track before getting down to business and slinging some cool shit on the 2nd tune, "Survival 101." The way the guitars crank through harmonic pick slashing and then drop heavily on blown-out distorted chords is a gritty challenge to the perfect as clockwork chord changes you hear everywhere. These distorted stabs of angular notes owe more to Unwound and Gang Of Four than to any contemporary acts. TNTD are a band reviving the guts 'n' blood forward motion of intensely loved but poor-selling legends like Jawbreaker and Jawbox. The two guitars (Josh Asher and Jake Hawley) take great pleasure in setting your teeth on edge and playing notes that hang unresolved and dissonant. As a band, TNTD value their rhythm section (Dan Whitesides and Levi Lebo) enough to back off and let the lower end have uninterrupted moments that let the songs breathe. Asher's vocals are a bit more agile than might be anticipated, favoring the sanguine registry of Cave In and Brazil over the guttural yelpings of their stated heroes (see above). The minor criticism would be that there is a tendency to oversing some of the lyrics, especially on a couple of choruses that are blown into grandiose passages. You don't whip out a guitar solo in every bridge, just like you don't need to sing and hold a high note in every chorus. The occasional over-indulgence is a product of Asher being able to actually sing, and you don't blame Thom Yorke for letting loose, so why blame Asher? The sugar of his voice often provides counterbalance to the grinding guitars, like on the excellent "Conditions." "Three Word Distrust" is an impassioned flaming arrow shot into the heart of someone who just can't make a decision. "What are you waiting for, I think about it all the time." The direction that TNTD moves in takes accomplished vocals and welds it to a restless two guitar architecture that echoes the drama of Jawbox and the release of No Knife. "Mechanical Failure" is TNTD at their best: the final third of the song finding the guitars tying each other up in ascending knots.
EAST COAST ROMPER
After a few self released EP's, Salt Lake City's The New Transit Direction release their debut full length CD which should open a few eyes and leave a few jaws dropped open too. Hell, even my brother liked it and he generally doesn't like anything I do. TNTD play post hardcore music with good hooks and some interesting guitar riffs like on To The Sea which sounded like something Steve Howe would've come up with during the vintage Yes years. Other noteworthy tracks are Survival, Means To An End, Anonymous and Mechanical Failure. This band will most likely appeal mostly to the post h/c crowd but for the record, this old school metal head found it to be an above average album in an over crowded genre where it's getting harder and harder to stand out. Wonderful Defense Mechanisms is worthy of a spot in your cd collection.
SLIGHTLY CONFUSING TO A STRANGER
Straight out of Salt Lake City comes The New Transit Direction - a brilliant blend of intelligent rock in the similar frame of 'To Bury Within The Sound'-era Engine Down, Cursive and your choice of the early 90's Dischord roster. It's surely an album of unexpected "they're gonna be big" that you rush to the streets to tell everyone about.
The studio time (with Jon Congleton [PaPeR cHaSe]) was skillfuly executed, as vocals are sometimes multi-tracked and often makes vox / guitarist Josh Asher sound like he's in another room entirely (see: 'Conditions'). The entire band is exceptional, and they shine entirely on stunners like 'Anonymous' with it's seamlessly calculated rythm, drum and bass that lay the perfect foundation for Asher to chant off one of 'wonderful defense mechanisms' many choice tracks.
Yeah, I hear what your saying when you tell me TNTD remeind you of heavyweights Thursday, but I have never been a fan of any band choosing to name themselves after the grueling work week - and The New Transit Direction are on SOME records, sharing a home with our faves the Ghost. But what does that have to do with Thursday? Nothing - just like a meaningless comparison to them and TNTD would be. If it's an amazing debut you are looking to invest in, we just gave you 2 minutes worth of reasons to look no further.
Circling the two Jaws (Jawbreaker and Jawbox) as a stalker in the darkest of midnights would, The New Transit Direction croon with off-key mellowness that will find many craving for more. The infamous blackout in Manhattan in 2003 found the band having to cancel their warm-up gig to recording this superb full-length with producer Jon Congleton. But the bad luck ended there as they began to pave the way to the top with gold success inevitable. Frenetic and angular, "Wonderful Defense Mechanisms" also just happens to boast insightful lyrics on a variety of subjects. Hurry up and go pick yourself up a copy because great music like this needs to be spread like a communicable disease shouldn't.
The New Transit Direction creeped up on me at some concert ages ago and threw me into a spin. Creative melodies and masterful intensity coupled with a surprise attack of talent make for one of the better bands most people never get to hear. Wonderful Defense Mechanisms, the band's latest full-length release, is another step forward toward deserved recognition.
Fictional and Survival 101 open the LP with a sound much like Jason Gleason's Further Seems Forever. This is a good thing. Means to an End follows, characterized by torqued guitars interlaced with muffled vocals.
Anonymous carries the most memorable qualities on the record, a pounding track complete with hardcore-ish breakdowns minus the tired screams most hardcore bands consider so necessary. Other tracks on this release that stand out are Out the Lights, Mechanical Failure and Pieces, the closing mark.
I still don't think The New Transit Direction will get the kind of scene support they are so entitled; but if you read this review and finally hear of the band, please go out and listen to them.
For those of you looking for something a bit more on the harder side to rock out to this summer, The New Transit Direction may be a band you want to pay a little more attention to. For a band that's barely 4 years old, you will definitely be impressed by their debut album, Wonderful Mechanisms. The album as a whole shows great potential with the band's innovative sounds, that don't just sound like another Taking Back Sunday rip-off. The album's opener, "Fiction," gives an amazing preview of what the rest of the album will sound like with unique mixing of vocals along with the rhythm. If you're fearful of another screaming, whining band, don't worry - The New Transit Direction is not that at all. They may get close to screaming, but they're far from annoying. A few of the songs have similar rhythms and sounds, but other than that, Wonderful Mechanisms is definitely an album to at least give a listen to if you're into bands like The Used or Taking Back Sunday (both bands that The New Transit Direction has toured with).