Review by Dom Vigil
Transit Blues is anything but safe. The sixth full-length album from The Devil Wears Prada starts off explosive and chaotic, taking listeners on a sonic journey as they wow them with wild guitar work and passionate vocals and keep them interested with intricate drumming and a wide array of sounds. The first release without founding drummer Daniel Williams and first full album with guitarist Kyle Sipress, who replaced Chris Rubey, proves that The Devil Wears Prada aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Opening up Transit Blues is the chaotic and fast-paced “Praise Poison.” Although there are some hints of melodic vocals in this first song, it is mostly relentless, catching your attention right off the bat with easily some of the best guitar and drum work on the album and leaving you wondering what could possibly come next. And thankfully, the next song, “Daughter,” is just as fulfilling. The second track doesn’t lose any of the energy that “Praise Poison” establishes, and instead just adds onto it. The stunning clean vocals contrast perfectly with the chaotic screams in “Daughter.”
The themes of Transit Blues begin to show as early as “Daughter” but really kick into gear on “Worldwide.” Not only is this third track stunning vocally, but it really begins to drive home the themes of change and growth, both lyrically in lines such as, “I’m a little restless/Feeling like I need a change,” and sonically in the incredible vocal harmonies and anthemic chorus. Then comes the slower “Flyover States,” which really signifies a change of pace on the album and continues to build on a theme of the feeling of distance and separation while on the road.
Another standout track on Transit Blues is “The Condition.” In addition to constantly changing and contrasting sounds, there’s a sense of hopelessness to this track that is both relatable and very haunting. Lines like, “Can’t look forward to anything while in this condition/Can’t say I’m waiting for a sign,” are incredibly powerful, whether they are delivered nearly a capella at the beginning and end of the song, or screamed throughout. That same lingering sense of hopelessness and despair can be heard in the following track, “The Key of Evergreen” alongside poetic imagery.
Where the first half of Transit Blues is significantly more wild and chaotic than the second slower and emotional half, the transition comes with ease. And although this change of pace would threaten to cause some listeners to lose interest, it remains strong because of the powerful lyricism and intricate instrumentals. “The Key of Evergreen” for instance hosts some of the strongest drumming on the album alongside haunting guitar work that really sets the mood of the song.
Bringing Transit Blues to a close is “Home For Grave Pt. II” which rounds out a story that began on 2013’s 8:18, followed by the monumental title track. “Transit Blues” takes every strength of the album and simply amplifies them and puts them all into one track. The Devil Wears Prada have never sounded more in sync than they do on this final track, and making it even stronger is the level of vulnerability and intimacy in the vocals and lyrics. Not only is the emotion palpable vocally, but lyrically, they lay it all on the line with this final song, leaving nowhere to go but up.
Listen to "The Condition"
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