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The Transits - Single Review: When You Went Away

28 Feb 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
In the digital age of today, it’s not uncommon for musicians and artists to collaborate and create music from kilometers, or countries away, and even beyond continents. Such is the case for The Transits, a pop rock indie trio consisting of members from Durban, South Africa and Tamaki Makaurau Auckland. In fact, the band extend their history way back to thirty years ago when they first formed in South Africa, only to find themselves picking things back up across oceans. Now the trio have embarked on a mission of releasing four tracks for the coming months, leading with When You Went Away.

The song launches immediately into a series of mid-tempo four-four punches by way of drums and guitar, as the ethereal layers of synths deliver a euphoric atmosphere. Heavily reminiscent of 2000’s rock and pop-punk, there are huge, sing-along choruses the likes of Good Charlotte, making it hard not to imagine crowds with hands in the air, singing “When you went awaaayyy” every time that phrase rolls in.

There’s the hugely positive energy plus dance-ability much like fellow Kiwi pop-rockers Goodnight Nurse, with the dance-ability and generous helpings of synths akin to Australia’s Metro Station.

In fact, upon more listens, the more the chorus sounds like a “Pop Rock 101” guide styled for the mid 2000’s. There’s tasteful but sparing uses of autotune, there’s vocal echoes that give off Fountains of Wayne vibes, even reverberating guitars that reminds one of the Stereophonics.

I can’t lie, this was an addictive listen.

Now, as for the accompanying music video, one would probably expect a montage of house parties or a mashup of live performances, given the tone and content of the song. Not this one.

Starting off like some odd Shortland Street-horror movie hybrid (and without giving too much away!) the two starring characters waltz and entwine in a surprisingly elaborate dance, with both individuals’ eyes visibly shut - All happening within a mortuary, no less!

There is brilliant choreography, a very tender touch of romance, a mysterious, underlying story by way of inscriptions on a slip of paper, all delivered in a marvellously cinematic five-and-a-bit minutes.

While I’m here, and even though I’m no Roger-Ebert when it comes to films, I must personally applaud the director and producer’s choice in making the romantic aspects of this short story as subdued as possible. I’ve always said that in many films, it’s moments when two characters DON’T kiss or make love, etc. that actually makes more impact than when they do, and this wee video is a great example. I digress; I guess I really am a cheesy old romantic at heart.

Music video aside, When You Went Away is, by the song itself, a highly enjoyable and uplifting piece of rock. For a pop-punk-loving oaf like me, it’s definitely one tune to add to party playlists, or just one to press repeat for some 2000’s vibes to bounce-along to.

Having said that, there is a case to be made that the song itself is made better with the accompanying video; the self-reflective lyrics sung does pair well with the delicate yet moody motion images.

The group have a four-act release planned for this year, so stay tuned via Spotify, Facebook and Instagram for the remaining tunes!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About The Transits

When the three original members of long-lost Durban, South Africa-based teen-punk band Cabbage reunited many years later under a new guise - the multinational The Transits - to record a song they hadn’t finished properly back in the day, they had no reasonable expectation they’d be issuing their debut self-titled album just over a year later. Yet, here we are.

Despite creating their music remotely - two of the band’s members (Dom Antelme - vocals, bass and Tyrone Smith - drums) are now based in Auckland, New Zealand, while one (Ryan Lunn - vocals, guitars, synths, production) still lives in Durban - they’ve channelled individual successes and experience in other bands and projects in the intervening years into The Transits - and they’ve made it sound effortless. Their compact, hard-hitting songs, possessing earworm melodies, classic pop-punk songwriting, searing guitar hooks and intricate production, have grabbed media attention and yielded instant success.

Within days of releasing their debut single, When You Went Away, the song was soundtracking NZ TV’s The Project, before receiving further international radio and music video TV spin. Two of the four singles released ahead of the album have charted in the top 40 in South Africa, with When You Went Away charting in the top 10. The band has had glowing features and reviews across major music media in the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, capped by a feature in Rolling Stone magazine.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Transits


The Transits
Year: 2024
Type: Album
When You Went Away
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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