Monday, July 28, 2014

Transplants - In a Warzone (2013)

Transplants is a punk "supergroup" featuring Tim Armstrong from Rancid and drummer Travis Barker from blink-182.  Their first self-titled album in 2002 had a couple of great songs:  "Diamonds and Guns" (which found its way into a shampoo commercial) and "Tall Cans in the Air" (which, as Scotty Matz can attest to, found its way into the must-hear category for tailgates, although Matty Squarepants may disagree).  The promise of that first album (and those two singles in particular) is that this group would one day turn in a definitively great, consistent album.

In a Warzone, the band's third, is not the album.  It's unintentionally the most effective PSA against vocalists who smoke three packs a day for twenty years.  Their voices are all completely shot.  While the first album uses, shall we say, "non-traditional" vocalizations as a contrast to more classic rock vocals, there's no such contrast here -- it's rough vocally all the time.  "Heaven All Over Again" makes me shudder.  

And for whatever reason, the boys are now on a political rant, but in a vague, sloganistic way.  It's just jargon:  there are no clever one-liners, no intensity, and no feel of any realism.  The charm and verisimilitude that pervaded the first album is also gone -- it's just lifeless and seems forced on every level.  The production does not help this at all, either.  It's a poorly mixed, sludgy overwrought, stilty bass piece of crap.

But the drums are good.

CD Placement rating: Pile of Death/Peaches Pile.

- Snilch

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