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
The New Transit Direction – Wonderful Defense Mechanisms / 2004 Some Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.tntd.net / http://www.some.com / Reviewed 03 October 2004