REVIEW: Transplants – In A Warzone
Unless you have been living in cave as a hermit for the past 12 years, you will more than likely be aware of talent shows such as Pop Idol, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice continuously churning out ready-made pop stars, all with the aim of making a man called Simon a few more million.
Tim Armstrong and Rob Aston would be laughed off all of those shows (not that they would ever have anything to do with them), and that is why they hold so much respect in the punk, and now hip-hop world. Armstrong has sold over 4 million records independently with his punk band Rancid, making them one of the most successful independent punk acts of all time. A bit different to one Christmas number one and then obscurity, until appearing in a line-up on ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’, which is what Mr Cowell has to offer.
In A War Zone returns to the punk roots of the band, differing from previous releases that have more of a hip-hop influence. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, it does seem to dim their appeal somewhat, as originality in combining punk and hip-hop is what sets this band aside from others. There are, however, exceptions to this, such as the brilliant Something’s Different and It’s a Problem – the latter featuring DJ and Vocalist Paul Wall and focusing on the subject of human greed.
In A War Zone is a typical punk album, in the fact that it is anti-government, but rather than focus on an individual aspect or incident, but just criticizes authority in general and although this is a more juvenile method of protest it is still enough to get the listener riled up and ready to join the protest.
After a second, more focused listen, it is possible to pick out different themes in each song – Back To You is an almost bluesy punk number warning us that big brother is watching everything that we do, Any Of Them could almost be an honest Politicians (do they exist?) view of the world, Gravestones and Burial Plots focuses on the right to protest, taking control and fighting authority and Come Around, the anthem of the album, is about taking risks and challenges rather than just the easy road – “When it comes to playing it safe, I’ll take a challenge instead”.
All in all, a solid album returning to the bands roots in punk, but still including the odd gem of mash up punk and hip-hop that they are famous for. It’s defiantly a grower, so don’t dismiss at the first listen, persevere and you will reap the benefits later, although here’s hoping for a higher hip-hop influence on their next release.
For fans of: Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Suicide Machines, The Distillers
Killer Track: Something’s Different