[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Uncertainty. It comes in many guises and it often hides right in plain sight as a reassuring friend. For The Transit Board, this kind of transitory state forms the basis of their second release and like the concept in question it never lets one remain complacent for long. Why, even the longer pieces on here constantly shift and swirl becoming formless in a matter of moments; it gives me the feeling of falling through debris into an endless descent which contains all manner of terror. You think you’re alone and then a swath of electronic illumination reveals a wall of eyes focusing on you with absolute hatred.
Were they always there or is this just your perception of reality’s reaction to such, ahem, uncertain surroundings.
They’d been almost friendly the last time I heard them, not so with ‘A New Kind of Temporary’. Gone are the warm analog textures and comforting whimsical undertones. Everything has been coated with a cynical residue, the sort you get when what you knew of things has been turned upside down and yet again the smiling teeth on your screen lie right through themselves. I’ve been encountering a lot more of this tone from the underground on that little island, releases such as this one are forming what I’d call some kind of aural autoimmune response.
In fact, the longer I spent listening to what they’ve created here, the more it felt like a call to resist. This is the reaction one so often finds coming from those who feel they have been backed into a corner; it is plainly obvious what this record is getting at underneath all the messing with waveforms and subversion of musical norms: we will not go back. You at the top who call the shots and manufacture these machinations which pass for culture have your machines to push an agenda but we have ours. So much has been consolidated as the years pass and still there is non-compliance. Bless them.
Just look at the titles of these tracks, could it be any plainer: “Cold War Furniture”, “Functional Landmarks” and “Imminent Collapse”; if this is not enough then look closely at the cover, groove along to “But Slowly” and see if a slideshow of historical events doesn’t play out behind your eyes. The Transit Board are making a point here, a series of them, actually and if no one wants to listen then that’s no surprise either. It pains me to say it but this statement by Gore Vidal is no longer confined to America:
“We learn nothing because we remember nothing.”