Take a look at Transplants’ eponymous debut from a decade ago and you’ll find a band excited to fuse punk with every available influence, making it a mish-mash of excitable tracks from musicians revelling in their new project. Shift to 2005’s ‘Haunted Cities’ and their sound is slightly more cohesive, reeling in the explosive experimentation and focusing in on a blend of rap and punk above other fleeting samplings.
It’s now, however, after a lengthy hiatus that the band seem to have taken yet another step closer to their roots. By all accounts, ‘In A Warzone’ feels the closest Transplants have teetered to Tim Armstrong’s own Rancid in sound, with ‘Skinhead Rob’ Aston’s famed vocals and Travis Barker’s pummelling percussion to boot.
Ferocious from the offset, the title track lurches into a classic punk pursuit. And as you journey through their third record it’s clear that alongside the easily plucked song titles, the band have stripped back the layers of their past experimentation and settled on what has always rested at the core of their identity: punk rock.
Apt sidestep ‘Something’s Different’ begins with a muted guitar, adding a little groove to proceedings - a welcome reprise of the rap and attitude that flavoured this record’s predecessor. ‘Any Of Them’ returns to the matter at hand with a rough and ragged hit - straight forward, steeped in attitude. ‘It’s A Problem’ is another indulgence of their more experimental nature, sampling heavier electronics. Where the majority leans predominantly towards Rancid, this certainly hat tips to some of Barker’s other work. ‘Silence’ is truly Barker’s track - able to allow drumming to take centre stage with his usual finesse.
Packing some big lyrical content from political discontent to there being no masters or god, ‘just bastards’, there’s enough here to fuel that aggression that they master so effortlessly. ‘In A Warzone’ encompasses that experimental flavour that carved out their own identity in the decade past, yet takes another solid step towards their homeland genre. They have a quality of sounding like a band excited by their music on record, and it’s hard not to fall into it easily. This is not their most groundbreaking work, but it’s very easy to enjoy a band who themselves enjoy what they’re creating.