Transit – Young New England

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews


Young New England - Rise Records

Rather than pretend to weigh in on Transit’s latest release, Young New England, from the perspective of a well informed critic, I’m going make known from here on out that I have no history with the Boston, Massachusetts pop-punk act.  As such, I can’t comment on the disc as a let down relative to the critically heralded Listen & Forgive as many seem to be comfortable judging.  Rather, my view provides the perspective of an outsider that took far too long to discover one of pop-punk’s emerging gems.

Right from opener “Nothing Lasts Forever” Transit feels in its element.  The subsequent poppy, emo tone makes for an easy connection to Sunny Day Real Estate and The Early November without sacrificing the grit it seems the band started out with.  A general calmness frames all thirteen tracks, with Young New England’s levelheadedness akin to the voice of reason in a crowd of riled up peers.  The band easily extends that level of comfort to its listeners.  Accordingly, the title track translates a combination of gang vocals, soothing guitar riffs and grass roots sincerity into a beating musical pulse.  “Always working for the weekend, an uphill battle for a few good nights, over and over again,” sings frontman Joy Boynton as he extends a welcoming hand to those looking for daily refuge.  “So Long So Long” extends the sentiment with a sing along chorus padded with ear grabbing goodies, making Young New England an instrumental treat.  Just check out the intricate guitar work cutting through “Bright Lights & Dark Shadows” and tell me that Transit hasn’t made something outside of the ordinary.

Surprisingly, front man Joe Boynton’s vocals have become a key point of contention, and for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out why.  Boynton’s vocal talents are far reaching, spanning from fragile to assertive, informed by a legacy of bands that otherwise receive notable praise.  There’s a baseline 00’s pop punk in line with oft-cited contemporaries The Wonder Years, but it’s the spark of complimentary indie and post-punk production that keeps my headphones glued.  Much like Seahaven, songs like “Hazy” and “Hang It Up” tap into the Kevin Devine/Manchester Orchestra school of emotion.  Wavering insecurities inch their way through lyrics masked by instrumental poise and group “woahs” as per “Don’t Go, Don’t Stray.” Boynton is a relatable lead, baring himself for a judging world, flaws and all.

As for the many Boston references (occurring at a frequency close to every second song), the quintet’s heart lands in the right place.  No one knocks the Dropkick Murphys for singing about their hometown, and Transit does it with much more tact, so I was shocked to hear such hostility on this matter.  Sure, I don’t know where the “Linden trees” grow as referenced in “Thanks For Nothing,” but Transit’s sincerity trumps the need for geographic familiarity.  Many existing bands fumble with their identity, so I for one applaud Transit’s transparency.

If you pull up a search for similar artists on, the results come flooded with far less defined or accomplished pop-punk acts like Man OverboardThe Story So Far and Handguns.  As such, Transitexists for its own agenda, evolving and writing music for themselves more so than on the terms of the surrounding scene.  In this light, Young New England is a thoughtful, inspiring albumand an impressive entry point for newcomers not to be missed.