Punk supergroup Transplants’ third album In A Warzone has finally arrived after their last album was released eight years ago. Transplants are made up of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, Blink-182’s Travis Barker and Death March’s Rob Aston. They formed in 1999 when Armstrong showed friend and roadie Aston some beats he had made using Pro Tools and asked Rob if he would consider contributing lyrics. After officially forming a band, Armstrong and Aston realised they needed a drummer, hence one of the best punk rock drummers of all time: Travis Barker. In A Warzone is based in the world of punk/rock/rap but has fingers in many musical pies including R&B, drum and bass and pop.
And what’s it like?
The title track opens up the album in a way that ‘Romper Stomper’ opened Transplants’ debut record – noisily and impressive – and, almost instantly, there’s a positive vibe oozing from the record. The relaxed, play-what-we-like guise of the band is at the forefront of everything, harking back to the first album and throwing out catchy tunes for fun. This fun sound does get boring quickly, though, and in the blink of an eye we’re four tracks in.
‘Come Around’ breaks the thick punk fog, being more of a pop anthem than a lovechild of The Ramones. There is still a hint of sleaze in this track and the fast chorus is strangely catchy for how wordy it is. For a punk supergroup, Transplants can write a great anti-pop pop song. ‘Something Different’ is blues with gold chains and mohawks. Plonky piano underlays distorted guitar stabs, and this is all tied together with a ’90s-inspired R&B chorus. This may sound like a horrible combination but strangely it works. Messy drum and bass is what Transplants turn their hand to next with ‘It’s a Problem’. The start of this track sounds like the title music to an arcade shoot-em-up, but then morphs straight into ‘Pump It’ by the Black Eyed Peas with a touch more drums.
What’s the tracklisting?
1.In A Warzone
2.See It To Believe It
3.Back To You
6.Any Of Them
8.All Over Again
9.It’s A Problem
11.Gravestones and Burial Plots
12.Exit The Wasteland
Can you listen to anything now?
What’s the final verdict?
In A Warzone is a good L.A. punk album but when Transplants branch out into other areas it becomes a bit sloppy.
Words by Jamie King