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The Transits - Single/Video Review: Renegade Hearts

26 Jun 2023 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

The Transits are a NZ-South African band composed of Ryan Lunn (vocals, guitars, synths), Dom Antelme (vocals, bass) and Tyrone Smith (drums). Growing up in conservative South-African landscapes, their sound is thought to push the boundaries of how to be, and how to act. Their new single/video Renegade Hearts is a sound, style and brand intrinsic to the band’s upbringing and efforts to push away from a culture that restricts one’s own identity and image. In their early days, getting into trouble was a natural result of playing in a rock band, and defying their surrounding societal norms. Striving for ingenuity comes at the risk of scrutiny, and hence my choice to take on their review and give context to why music with this mindset brings attention. 

Renegade Hearts is a well-mixed, and well-mastered track which opens with clean and solid drums, with a fun, distorted background fuzz and a glaze of synth-pop. The video displays a fun collage of postmodern clip art, similar to that made by Andy Worhol in the 1960’s. I do hear a Blink-182 influence, made with a hook-laden structure and attempt to break rules lyrically and stylistically. I enjoyed the lyrics depicting a society of “judgmental fools; their boxes and their rules” which draws the listener to conversations surrounding upbringing, and defying one’s own culture. The drumming and guitar blend well and take a solo moment in the track at about 2:18 which is catchy and clean, and heavy enough to draw feelings. 

As a listener of punk, pop-punk and metal myself, I do take a liking to the band’s branding and message. Why I chose to review The Transits is a good reason as to why I urge bands to delve even deeper into their punk-like assets. Punk defies norms, defies trends and defies popularity. Personally, I believe music of today is very much based on image and exposure which makes it harder to gain fans if it fully defies mainstream culture. I applaud the band's message to its listeners, and in fact beg the band to produce more. The essence of punk is to not only re-defy, disenfranchise, but also to scare. When I hear a band pushing into that realm, I always encourage more unpolished sound, more aggression, and better yet… more darkness and charisma! Now that alternative music has no bounds and no rules, why not go darker with the lyrics? Go heavier? What was it about conservatism that led you to form a rock band? What was it about sporting culture in South Africa that made you sick to your stomach? Did it make you angry? How angry!? 

Why I want to hear more tracks from The Transits is the same reason I want to give any pop-punk band a go; show me your emotions and how hard life got for you when you defied popular culture and searched for individualism. I think the potential this band has lies in their courage to delve further into that world. Stand in the darkness with us mere mortals, but also give us more of a voice... The darkness can be fun, not only creating resonance but also changing judgmental mindsets time and time again. It follows structure, and you can hear that they’ve been playing for a while (the trio formed 30 years ago to be exact). My two cents is that I’d love to hear more crunch, more “grrr”, more fed-up sarcasm… if you dare! The more songs that give essence to the chaotic world we live in, the better. I wonder if The Transits will take my feedback towards their next album perhaps... mess with the hooks, mess with the structure, get bassier, and in general keep producing sounds for the black sheep. I know if it needs to hit the radio, it might not be the heaviness we crave. However, while we’re “sticking it to the man”, we might as well tell him how mad we got in the process.

Rating: ( 3 / 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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