Beginning in Alabama and launching their career in Murfreesboro, The Transcenders have completed their first EP, Mission Cre, and are pushing their energetic and textured stylings upon the local Murfreesboro scene.
The sound is a conglomeration of post-
modern rock, garage punk, and indie music, and blends together influences such as The Velvet Underground, The Talking Heads, The Minutemen and Fugazi. The overall feel is a quirky, indie sound, delivering odd lyrical content, chiming melodic guitar work, propulsive bass playing and punk-driven drumming.
The album definitely has a hand-made feel to it, yet the recording seems fairly clear while still retaining its lo-fi sound. With their unique style and progressive mood, The Transcenders have confidence in their musical sensibilities, allowing themselves to push their musical direction.
With songs such as “Twist of Fate” and “The Turning Point,” the vocal delivery is reminiscent of Ian Curtis from Joy Division, with guitar licks similar to Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, giving in to an underlying intensity, pushing a sullen, frantic mood. The album also displays some diversity in the songwriting such as the song “Over My Head, Under My Skin,” pulling together a whirl of Husker Du, Pavement, and Ben Folds Five. The skillful harmonies and the solid, rhythmic guitar playing make the song complete, developing a distinct, smooth sound.
The instrumentation is not spectacular, but is solid enough for the material they present, but where they lack in musicianship, they make up for their weaknesses by pushing their creative sound. The Transcenders seem to have a distinctive style with high artistic abilities, leaving room for the listener to roam freely amongst the live-sounding tracks, giving way to almost a nostalgic, mystical post-punk sound. There lies a feeling of urgency and tension in each song, and the band uses this to capture the audience by building on this feeling throughout the entire album.
The band seems to be on the threshold of breaking through their balance of art-noise instrumentation and astral-like musical feel, but at times, it seems hard to gather up the lyrical feeling in their semi-traditional songwriting.
The idea the Transcenders present is admirable, yet their sound is lacking at times. Despite the impressive creative feel on the album, the instrumentation seems out of place at times, presenting a thin sound and lack of melody within the structure of the songs. At times, the vocals give way to mumbling, which takes away from the delivery of their creativity, resulting in a rushed cadence, taking away the overall feel of the album.
The songwriting presents well-thought-out ideas, but seems to be largely unfinished. The musicianship seems to be tight and strong at times, yet there are pockets of off-beat work that is noticeable, creating a lull for the listener as the tempos unexpectedly change and the melody vanishes at the wrong times.
Despite these few technical issues, the Transcenders deliver an infectious, straightforward indie feel that deserves a place within the landscape of the Murfreesboro scene. This album is just a start and presents a vivid, creative feel that is worthy of notice?with time and more experience in the studio, this band should present some excellent work.
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