Transitions serves double meaning for Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty, the doubleneck bass/guitar whiz and acoustic/electronic drummer, respectively, who comprise instrumental rock duo El Ten Eleven. There’s the inevitable march of time and life’s changes (marriage, children, divorce, death, etc.)—important, but perhaps hard to capture in a lyricless song. More obvious, of course, are the sonic transitions the band has undergone since 2010’s It’s Still Like A Secret: chiefly, longer, more technically complex songs (which is saying something, given Dunn’s doubleneck wizardry).
One could spend days wandering through Transitions’ 10-minute eponymous multi-suite opening track and a passable hip-hop breakdown on the gleaming “Yellow Bridges”, an ode to Fogarty’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Sure, the post-rock/post-punk touchstones associated with much of instrumental guitar rock are in place: the New Order vibe of “Thanks Bill”; the sorta-danceability of “No One Died This Time!”. Hell, even the cover of Duran Duran’s “Tiger Tiger”. Mercifully, though, the end result is roll-down-the-car-windows-and-crank-the-stereo celebratory, not murky, knotty guitar wankery.