The Devil Wears Prada return with one of their better full lengths, the new and
colorfully titled Transit Blues. The band sound far from travel weary on the record
though, turning in one of their rowdier performances to date and first full length
post-Chris. Kyle Sipress really proves his full worth here and the songwriting is some
of the band’s most concise to date. The thing with Prada is if you aren’t as crazy
about one release you very well might love the next because they love to dabble with
their core sound while retaining signature elements. It is also why they have a great
live show because they aren’t afraid of dynamics but also know when a hype song like
new single “Daughter” or the rapid fire intro riff of the closing title track is the way to go.
“Praise Poison”, the opening track, is particularly strong. It starts with a
percussive rattle and soon erupts into a headwalking whirl of syncopated crush and
fierce guitar tones. “Consider me dead and buried,” sings Mike Hranica, but this song
is as lively as some of the craziest stuff from The Chariot’s glory years and with an
expanded sense of fret teasing while also knowing when to lay back and let simpler
chords build momentum (something so many younger bands drop the ball on these days).
“Worldwide” is a sort of alt-rock singalong love letter to restless motion and
different cities around the world which ties in best with the album title. “The
Condition” later on in the record is another more radio friendly number with a very
melodic intro that seems to be about wrestling with keeping faith before a marching
hardcore riff builds through the verse, backed by nowadays pretty signature (and Space
EP reminiscent) atmospheric backing layers. “To the key of Evergeen” brings some
really impressive drum work front and center as the pattern loops and builds and
pounds the energy forward skilfully before a sort of screamed spoken/sung combo
section takes the song into a wide open and spacious center that claims ,”I’m not
tired”, before gentle instrumentals seem to mimic blurred road lines or windy thoughts
or a final collapse into sleep. There is also a repeated theme of navigating black ice
and danger until it is safe to rest your eyes, and it is sure to be a big hit with
fans if the band put it in the live set.
It is not as dark and punishing as Dead Throne or the Zombie EP, as experimental as my
favorite (underrated) 8:18 or as fired up with youthful zest and occasional missteps
as the first three records, rather a more mature and leaner TDWP emerges and frankly,
they are a much better band than they have ever been before. For all the thematic
travel, this record seems more like a confident arrival they have been building
towards for years now.
These guys have changed so much and proven their desire to strive over the years, much like Norma Jean
never quite settling in one mode. It makes it a lot harder to dismiss them as “that band with the kinda goofy Prada
name” anymore. They’ve not only put their time in but they have delivered way more good material than not at this
point. This is a solid purchase that is worth grabbing.