REVIEW: Transplants – ‘In a Warzone’
Nearly eight years later, Transplants are back together to release their third album “In A War Zone.” Despite the eclectic lineup of musicians within the group like Travis Barker of Blink-182, Tim Armstrong from Rancid and Skinhead Rob Ashton from Death March, their latest release is a major disappointment for hardcore Transplants fans.
“War Zone” is the first track off their record, highlighting a blitz of percussions aligned with a tight bass lick as Tim Armstrong (vocals/guitar) repeatedly shouts out the titles track. It is quick, snappy and highlights a ‘in your face attitude’ easily making it feel like listeners’ have to jump onto a moving train with the ditty’s opening fury energy.
After the opening track, it becomes evident that majority of the songs lean toward a punk rock sound than the band’s typical raprock roots.
As the album progresses, it is a breath of fresh air to hear “Something’s Different.” The track offers a glimmer of hope, exemplifying a throwback to what Transplants first created off their debut album in 2002. Skinhead Rob (vocals) delivers a steady paced flow of lyrics in a rap style accompanied with a simplistic guitar riff and piano keys. Armstrong only comes in during the chorus and gives room for other members to contribute their part.
“Any of Them” also oozes of the Transplants’ original signature sound. It has a perfect balance of rap and rock. Armstrong and Rob contrasting vocals compliment the busy background of music with Barker hitting beats at a swift speed. The lyrics are straightforward, creating an anthem-like track, declaring a carefree attitude. The two-minute track is easily one fans can look forward to when performed live with its intense, vibrant energy.
After a couple tracks deep, many begin to feel repetitive and only certain fragments of songs are notable. “It’s A Problem” has a cool, surf guitar-like sound that meshes a hip-hop twist that sounds like something inspired by Dick Dale.
Meanwhile “Silence” features fantastic punchy percussion beats played by the gifted Barker while the rest of the song only offers loud, fast noise. While loud and aggressive tracks are great for punk bands, Transplants fans expect added diversity within the dozen songs on the album.
If fans wanted to hear a dozen tracks with a punk agenda, they could have easily picked up a Rancid or Dead Kennedys record. With only a few noteworthy tracks within the batch, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear disappointment from hardcore fans that expected something reminiscent to their earlier tracks from 2002.
The album dropped on June 25 and can be purchased on iTunes or http://thetransplants.com/. The band is also touring for their release with Rancid. They headline Los Angeles on July 26 and July 27.