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May 24, 2024

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The Transplants
The Transplants (Hellcat Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

One of the more extreme of side projects to come out in a while, The Transplants features names like Armstrong, Aston, and Barker with the two outer edges of previous Rancid and Blink fame, with Aston laying down some slammin' vocal tracks. The record took a while, something like a year and a half in Armstrong's basement studio where a number of unlikely elements transpired seeing The Transplants do just that with typically accepted norms, successfully deviating and taking the Punk core and fusing bits, beats, a little of the bling bling by the sound of it. So basically take all you knew about the trio of Transplants, throw it out the window, and set in for something unlikely and even less expected, which is also to say, thanks for not doing another of those pointless skirt punk records with the pretty pink bow all wrapped up and ready for Pop radio-- The first five tunes on this record, beginning with the too-cool "Romper Stomper" and up to "Quick Death" which finds AFI's Havoc sharing the spot with Aston, features a variety of funky beats with agonized wailing and slightly out of sync "slam" that both serve to bury Armstrong's suddenly subtle style of playing that's more strum and hum than it is plug and play-- so yeah, we're talking different here from the word go with few exceptions, this last song being one of them. We're hitting on anything from early Ministry to Pitchshifter to The Kinks to wherever in God's name they're going with "California Babylon" with its seventies' street slang and boogie down that further convinces me they hadn't known what the hell they were smoking when they suggested influences like old English Dogs and G.B.H-- Old English Dogs? "One Seventeen" maybe, but by this point the vox are driving one right through. The "weird" part we'll go with and that's cool but lotsa people will find this indigestible. For what it's worth, indulge in a little low riding, balls first, classic rock and modern, loops, samples, and bed music with the heavy edge going the route of the gangia and gangsta, where verses crumble after six or seven and some bow to a catchy cool vibe. The busyness of the tunes belies intensity by way of diversity, and Aston's quick-change style, all unraveled in an aggressive voice and replanted in a jaywalking mind. Be happy to snag three or four from here and still get out with yer sense of humor.
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