Transplants – In a Warzone (Epitaph)
Tim Armstrong, Rob Aston and Travis Barker reunite for a second time to release their third studio-album. Louder Than War takes a listen.
On first listen it would be easy to suggest that the often wild and random experimentation of previous Transplants records is gone in favour of a more straightforward punk-rock sound. And whilst this doesn’t hold entirely true through further listens, the experimentation has definitely taken a big step to the side.
Transplants third studio album, In a Warzone, opens with a title-track that largely sets the tone for the majority of the record. Short, sharp and incredibly fast, it is the punk past of all three members coming right to the forefront of their music. Along with “Any of Them” and “Completely Detach” it comes perhaps closest out of any of Transplants work to treading the ground of Tim Armstrong’s Rancid, but Travis Barker’s drumming manages to give the track it’s own unique sound.
As some have come to expect, it is Barker himself who steals the show on In a Warzone. His versatility, almost flawless technique and wide-range of styles standout more than ever on this record. Not content with simply providing the solid base for Armstrong and Rob Aston to build on, he takes centre stage on tracks such as “Silence” and “Something’s Different”. Aptly named, it is the latter song that makes the deepest forray into Transplants experimental side, with its muted guitar and electronic beats sitting beneath the rap vocals and catchy chorus.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of the fourth track, “Come Around”. With a light, almost tender guitar-line and laid-back vibe, it reeks of a summer hit that is best listened to on a drive home from the beach. Like a majority of the songs on In a Warzone, it feels like Armstrong, Aston and Barker are content with playing to their strengths, leaving behind some of their more adventurous and experimental urges, and creating a simple and enjoyable punk-rock album.