The New Transit Direction – Wonderful Defense Mechanism

The New Transit Direction
Wonderful Defense Mechanism

Once upon a time in a different life, I sat behind a desk 40 hours a week. Now this was no ordinary desk. This desk had a phone and a computer. This phone would ring, and I would proceed to converse with whomever might be on the other line about their problems, specifically those that had to do with whatever application was being supported at the time. In “the biz,” this was commonly referred to as a “Help Desk,” since my sole purpose was to help the other person with whatever random technological conundrum he or she might have. Help Desks can be fairly busy, so busy in fact that sometimes one barely has time to eat. Those days, lunch breaks were a quick run to the variety of fast food outlets located close to work and then back to the phone, food in hand. The upside is that the worker is more proficient, since he has his food and can continue working. The downside is that some lucky caller will get the pleasure of hearing not only the correct way to create a table in MS Word but what a Burrito Supreme sounds like when consumed.

Having worked on a Help Desk for too fucking long, I became quite versed in the ins-ands-outs of the fast food industry. I had my favorites. I had my throw-downs. I had my light, and I had my heavy. The beauty of fast food is that it is everywhere and mostly generic. Everything melts together to form a quick meal of grease and carbohydrates. On some days it is actually difficult to remember what lunch was unless you had a handy plastic cup or empty wrapper lying around to provide clues. In other words, you might enjoy that Whopper with fries at 12:30 in the afternoon, but come 4:45 and the only evidence that you ate is ketchup on your sleeve.

The New Transit Direction knows all about fast food. Not only has the band probably consumed decent quantities of it while on the road touring these our united states, but the band has created a Super Sized Value Meal in its debut album Wonderful Defense Mechanisms. Just like a large food court in a high income mall, there is absolutely positively nothing on this album that has not been seen before. Furthermore, just like fast food, this album is rather bland, will leave a funny aftertaste, and if consumed on a regular basis can destroy any appetite for something new and different.

Wonderful Defense Mechanisms leads off with “Fictional,” and for the first 10 seconds the album shows promise as the drum and bass channel Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Possibilities are high that this band could actually be fun and refreshing. However, all my dreams are crumpled like so much empty boxes of fries when the rest of the band kicks in and lead vocalists/guitarist Josh Asher starts yelling clichéd statements about “dreams” and “breaking down.” Elsewhere on the album, Asher can be found screaming about “not giving up” and how he “can’t feel your direction.” Unfortunately, more specific lyrical insights from Asher are impossible because the band felt the need to be artistic and include some rather nice photography rather than lyrics inside the CD. However, if you are a fan of Taking Back Thursday or Yellowcard Seems Forever, then the emotive rock stylings of Asher will have you scribbling furious love letters to the band on the back of a spiral notebook.

The production values are high, and J. Robbins (is there band this man does not have his fingers in?) apparently produced the band’s first EP. Robbins influence pays off as the album has a very clean sound, and several tracks had more than a little inspiration from Burning Airlines and Jawbox. Those bands had J. Robbins though, and it is common knowledge that the man is a genius. He manages to release quality food material on a regular basis. The boys in The New Transit Direction are still working on games included with the Happy Meal.

If hastily consumed fast food and shallow, unmemorable indie-rock make up the majority of your diet, then The New Transit Direction is probably the best thing since Jack in the Box created the Grilled Sourdough Burger. However, if you tend to avoid grease, large purple mushrooms (what the hell is Grimace anyway?), and uninspiring rock that pales in comparison to its influences, then it is highly likely this album will do nothing but leave you hungry for something far more rewarding.