It's almost hard to believe that Transplants have already been a band for the better part of 13 years; Initially forged as Tim Armstrong's experimental Rancid side-project with roadie-turned-rapper and aspiring Punk Rock frontman "Skinhead Rob" Aston, Transplants soon recruited seasoned Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, rather than continuing to use pre-recorded ProTools drum loops. Their overall sound is a mildly weird hybrid of Hardcore Punk, Hip-Hop, Reggae (Dub), Drum-N-Bass, and an underlying Pop sensibility. During a lengthy 8-year long gap between Haunted Cities (2005) and this year's In a Warzone, Rancid remained fairly active as always, Blink-182 broke up and re-formed, Aston worked with his [other] D-beat Punk band Death March, and Armstrong released an album and singles/covers series as "Tim Timebomb." But with that said, In a Warzone is a pretty straight-forward Hardcore album, sans Bun B and Paul Wall features, of course ha. I was lucky enough to get an early pre-release vinyl copy of the album, ahead of it's Tuesday June 25th release, at the co-headlining Rancid/Transplants show at the Electric Factory (Philly) this past Saturday night; It was an unbelievably great show, granted my buddy Jeremy and I left the sold-out venue drenched in a bunch of smelly mosh pit rejected strangers' sweat.
Album opener "In a Warzone" is a righteous call to arms that's shouted back and forth between Skinhead Rob and Tim Armstrong, which sounded completely awesome in a live setting. "See It to Believe" is is one of In a Warzone's longer tracks (clocking in at 3:06). This is another call-and-response track, of sorts. It just comes out a little less hostile and features a squalling guitar riff smack dab in the middle. "Back to You" kicks off with Travis Barker's madman drumming chops and segues into a karma-cetric track about how you gotta "watch what you say an who it's said to." Based solely off it's acoustic guitar intro, "Come Around" kinda reminds me of The Smiths; it's one of the album's softer tracks, which has been pushed as an early singles. The last track I'm going to quickly review, "Something's Different" is what I'd call weirdly awesome and I mean that in the best way possible... Here's why: veteran rapper Bun B, a shouted chorus, and a kinda Soft Rock under-current. Hopefully that piques your interests enough and coxes you to buy Transplants comeback album, In a Warzone, which is out this upcoming Tuesday, June 25th. In any case, there's still plenty of time to catch Transplants & Rancid on tour together, running through June 23rd and featuring openers Crown of Thornz and The Interrupters. Rancid however, will continue the last leg of their unofficial "21st anniversary" tour solo, which wraps up on August 3rd.