20 May 2024

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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.

The Transits, however, are also a truly multi-faceted creative endeavour, with the band’s music videos, artwork and design produced either entirely in-house or as co-production collaborations. To this end, the music video for When You Went Away took out the prestigious NZ On Air ‘Best Music Video Award’ at last year’s Show Me Shorts film festival. Similarly, the epic video for Halloween-issued single, Lost Ones, is an eight-minute-plus Lost Boys homage that will almost certainly be queuing up for awards in 2024.

Inspired by punk, indie and synth-pop, as well as cult horror flicks, surf ‘n’ skate culture, and teenage testosterone, their debut album is front-loaded with big, boisterous and anthemic tunes offset by a darker, gothic-cinema edge. It’s heavy on nostalgia, but determinedly forward-thinking; light but dark; familiar yet fresh; quiet then loud, impossibly catchy but sometimes sinister. Herein lies the dichotomy of The Transits. Vocals are shared between Lunn and Antelme

Trimmed of all fat at just 10 songs and 31 minutes, any of their hook-drenched songs could be stand-alone singles. Like many bands these days, the members record their parts separately at their own home studios. They send their parts to main songwriter and production maestro Lunn, who then engineers, produces and mixes the tracks down at his Echolake Studios in Ballito, South Africa.

First single Heartbreak Queen is urgent and propulsive, with a blaring power-pop chorus buzz-sawing through the moody verses. Fall Into Dark has a splayed guitar groove, distorted vocal and wears its Pixies influences proudly on its sleeve like a badge of honour. No Solution is a clattering slow burner, militaristic drum beats being tapped out. Album finale Lost Ones, created as a soundtrack to accompany the music video (as opposed to the standard other way around), is ominous, but with a stadium-sized guitar chorus blast.

The Transits have gotten so good at this remote recording thing that they routinely juggle multiple songs in production at the same time. In fact, they work so fast they already have songs in the can for their second album. Although the band possess a love of nostalgia and teenage dreams - and a shared history - they’ve left the past firmly behind with The Transits to create fresh, vibrant punk-pop music that will find a way into your head and rattle around in there for days. Good luck getting it out.

Photo Credit: Fraser Clements

Band Members:
Dom Antelme (vocals, bass)
Tyrone Smith (drums)
Ryan Lunn (vocals, guitar, synths)


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