ALBUM REVIEW: Transplants replace signature sound

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First Posted: 6/24/2013

The Transplants broke into the music scene in 2002 with a self-titled debut record; the timing could not be more perfect. Punk music was being put on the radio and becoming popular at time, and the Transplants, while mixing hip-hop and electronic music with pure punk rock aggression, quickly became one of the most innovate acts out there with a sound unlike anything else.

2005’s “Haunted Cities” followed in the same light, although it did touch a bit on the group’s mellow side. Since then, each member has focused on other music acts. Another album has been planned since 2010, and finally, after eight years, the Transplants released “In a Warzone” yesterday.

From the moment the title track of the new record kicks in, it’s obvious that the Transplants haven’t mellowed with age. In fact, quite the contrary. The first three tracks of “In a Warzone” are classic punk rock, more reminiscent of unreleased Rancid tracks than the distinct sound that’s been their calling card.

It’s not until “Something’s Different,” the Bun B-featured track, that the band sounds like the creative unit they used to be. The break is short-lived, though, as another trio of hyper aggressive punk rock is up next.

The intensity of “Silence” and relentless groove of “All Over Again” will surely translate well live, but musically, they come across bland, as if they had a machine to start pumping these songs out.

A taste of old school Transplants finally arrives with “It’s a Problem.” Musically, it’s the most enjoyable cut on “In a Warzone,” with drum and bass interplay against Middle Eastern vibes, but its lyrical description of various drug habits bring down the overall energy and vibe of the track.

On first listen, “In a Warzone” may come off as disappointing. It may not be that bridge between hip-hop and punk rock, but even though the band did away with the hybrid sound, it’s still refreshing to hear a band put out a record with pure punk rock fury, and that should be enough to keep the listener interested.

Transplants ‘In a Warzone’ Rating: W W W