It’s possible that a musician who was raised in Dallas and tempered in L.A. could draw from the diverse music and culture and offer a blend of complicated, perspective-challenging music. It is possible, but not guaranteed. On Transit Plaza, Trevor Lissauer (the musician and actor) has successfully tapped the vein of mid-’90s harmless, sentimental alt-rock. Granted, this vein has carried and deposited other like-minded artists onto the Billboard charts (Remember the Gin Blossoms? How ’bout Sister Hazel? Matchbook Twenty? Toad the Wet Sprocket? Big Head Todd & the Monsters?).
Okay, I’m showing my bias. I’ll try to pull it back. Let’s start over. Transit Plaza is Lissauer’s first album with the backing band the Glass Plastiks. Drummer Keith Tenenbaum and bassist Barry Whittaker play their parts well. On Transit, they’ve constructed a fitting, though antiseptic, musical platform that works for their strumming front man.
And this music does have its place. Say it’s a Thursday afternoon, and you’ve just had a spat with that girl or boy. You throw up your hands, decide to ditch the frat party (which would totally rule, but, you know, they’ll be others). You grab an old Abercrombie sweatshirt, a kooky pair of sunglasses, jump into your Jetta and head to the desert, woods, or wherever (Okay, I couldn’t pull it back … my bias is not concealable).
If that’s the case, Transit Plaza may be the record for you. Its musical uniformity (each song is only slightly distinguishable from the other) and mopey lyrics may be appealing: “When I look at you / and I don’t see me / I think of abnormality that tried and we tried / We had a lot to say in just one day / Those simple words pushed me away, away, away.”
Though the delivery is ever-so sincere (Lissauer’s soaring falsetto … a tinkling of piano here; a dreamy patch of keyboard there), the majority of lyrics come off as disingenuous: “You had a hot stance in the dark / I passed by with no remark / You got razors under your skin / You’re addicting like heroin.” See, I believe the “I” believes. But, my belief stops there.
Sure, reality bites sometimes, but as another artist said, you got to get behind the mule and plow. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you just dig in, stake your claim in the middle of the road, and quietly go where many men have gone before.