Metalcore denarians The Devil Wears Prada are back with ‘Transit Blues’, a record about travelling which agonises over the distances created, while also celebrating the adventure promised. Through 11 incredible metalcore tracks, the listener is treated to a fly-by of the entire world as the band sees it, as though they were a passenger on the tour bus. Rarely has homesickness been so listenable.
It seems an inevitable theme in music that one will eventually reach a point of self-reference, where bands cease drawing on inspiration from their lives before fame and instead write about their experiences of being in a band. Albums about touring are hardly new, whether that’s PUP‘s latest effort ‘The Dream Is Over’, or as far back as The Eagles ‘Hell Freezes Over’ tour. So, from the outset, The Devil Wears Prada‘s new offering wouldn’t appear to offer anything new – but that dismissive attitude overlooks the quality of, and the perspective given by, the songwriting on display.
When opener ‘Praise Poison’ kicks off, the raw drum sound make us feel like we’re at a practice session in a garage in their native Dayton. Immediately afterwards, the song whisks us away before we can savour it, and we never get back home for the rest of the record. Where are we going? ‘Flyover States’ gives us more context, “Across land, across sea / We can’t count the miles / The days, the weeks / The months, the years.” While the opening tracks highlight some of the band’s best metalcore elements, the latter tracks slow the pace right down; a more melodic guitar hums wistfully out of the window while Mike Hranica pines for home.
If the album has any downfalls, it’s that the travelling theme falls apart when too much light is shed on it. In ‘Worldwide’, they try to hammer it home by listing their destinations; it’s difficult for any band to write this kind of song without seeming trite. The strongest track is ‘Submersion’, the album’s beating heart. The song is broken into two hemispheres that swing back and forth, and it feels like the sonic version of someone taking a sharp intake of breath and then powerfully exhaling their entire emotional range.
‘Transit Blues’ is about volition, or more specifically powerlessness. In travelling the world, The Devil Wears Prada find themselves in situations beyond their control. But, in that yearning, they’ve been provided with all kinds of inspiration, and have consequently created something brilliant.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)