Album Review: The Transplants - In A Warzone (LP 2013)


Tim Armstrong from Rancid, with Blink 182’s Travis Barker and Skinhead Rob Ashton are The Transplants who formed over a decade ago for a couple of really good records before a “hiatus” to return for In A Warzone, the bands third effort and one that feels like it is a band that is unsure of it’s purpose. This record sounds like rejected Rancid tracks that Tim can’t let go of and has given them to Skinhead Rob to add his two cents to. This album is more of a “something to do” rather than a focused musical release.

The one thing that I loved about the first couple of Transplants records was the mix of styles and influences, In A Warzone still carries this element but it feels misplaced and poorly executed. The drum machine beats and piano loops in ‘Something’s Different’ get drowned out by the live drums and guitar lines and the hip hop vocals are destroyed by Rob’s gravelly “something’s different” refrain repeated ad nausea. ‘It’s A Problem’ starts with a techno beat and a cool Egyptian style surf riff and is more akin to what I expected from a Transplants record.

However, the record feels very forced and contrived. If released back after the bands second album in 2006 it may have more potency, but now it’s lost its shine. The political undercurrents in the lyrics would be better represented when Bush was still President and the war in the Middle East was still relevant. Musically, the punk rock/hardcore crossover has been done by so many bands now that this almost sounds like a poor cover of that sound instead of being the originators as they once might have been described. As a whole it just fails to excite.

Tim Armstrong has got to be one of the most prolific songwriters in punk rock. He has his song a day releases under Tim Timebomb, Rancid are rumored to be writing and recording a new record and now the Transplants drop their third record. The thing with being so prolific is that sometimes not all of what is written is gold. And in this case they end up being a Transplants record.

Review Score: 4.5/10

In A Warzone drops on June 25. You can pre-order a copy via the band's website or on iTunes.