'COUNTRY MUSIC DEAD'
New Transits exceptional 2011 debut album, One, introduced Boise to a warm, rocking, alt-country groove. Vocal harmonies from singer-guitarist Sean Hatton and bassist Adam Gates glided through the groups Americana instrumentation like a spring breeze. Pedal and lap steel from Dave Manion prevented New Transits grittier guitar moments from ever escaping the pasture entirely. Drummer Louis McFarland seemed to close his eyes and gently power tunes over the horizon.
Going through a transitional stage on its sophomore album, theres enough new for New Transit to keep the ride fresh and exciting. The proven formula hasnt changed even if the bands personnel has. Guitarist and singer Todd Sloan of defunct alt-rock trio Low-fi joined after the recording process had begun, but you cant help imagining that Sloans creative influence crept into an arrangement or two. Low-fi was never afraid of quiet drama giving way to instrumental crescendos, and Worlds Collide a successful but not entirely congruent track clocks in at nearly 7 minutes. Either way, its hard to fault New Transit for swinging for the barbed-wire fence occasionally.
Elsewhere, Hatton crafts melodic, more-straightforward gems. Augmented by bandmates harmonies (and guest singer Catherine Merrick of a.k.a. Belle on the sweet Waking Up with Me), his twang-tinged voice was born for this dirt-road rock soft and wise, as if whittled from old barnwood. Yet everything still makes perfect sense when New Transit blasts into Carousel guitars feeding back before creating an upbeat anthem that evokes late 80s/early 90s Soul Asylum and Paul Westerberg.
Everybodys got time ticking Hatton repeats on the slow, elegant song On the Edge. These musicians are making good use of theirs.