Haunted Cities

Haunted Cities

4.9 11
by Transplants
     
 

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On their sophomore album, this semi-supergroup (featuring members of Rancid and Blink 182), are more interested in spreading their wings than spinning their wheels, and they venture even further into the R&B and hip-hop realm they flirted with on their self-titled debut. Singer Rob Aston'sSee more details below

Overview

On their sophomore album, this semi-supergroup (featuring members of Rancid and Blink 182), are more interested in spreading their wings than spinning their wheels, and they venture even further into the R&B and hip-hop realm they flirted with on their self-titled debut. Singer Rob Aston's increased confidence is the disc's biggest strength. On songs like "What I Can't Describe" -- which sounds a lot like the J. Geils Band if those Bostonians had cut their teeth at CBGB -- Aston could hold down center stage at the Apollo. His better-known bandmates -- Rancid's Tim Armstrong and Blink's Travis Barker -- likewise up the ante, expanding the rhythmic lexicon to include things like the drum 'n' bass slink of "Gangsters and Thugs." There's still plenty of the sun-baked (or just plain baked) aggression in the mix, of course, a sense that's heightened when the members of Cypress Hill put in their two cents -- especially the machine-gunning cameo that B Real puts in on "Killafornia." That intensity, which surges through songs like "Apocalypse Now" and "Doomsday," is heightened by the trio's newfound ability to take the occasional breather. All in all, these Cities are sure to become a favorite haunt.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
Transplants' 2002 debut shouldn't have worked. There was the supergroup tag, for one, with Tim Armstrong and Travis Barker at the center of a trio that also included vocalist
apper Rob Aston. And besides, their charge of modified punk revivalism, streetscape grit, and hip-hop bravado seemed (on paper anyway) like music for the villains in a DMX action vehicle, or at the very least a sound tailored for game systems. Nevertheless it was oddly effective, and managed some real atmosphere. In 2005 the Transplants return. They've skipped from Armstrong's Hellcat imprint to Barker's Atlantic-distributed La Salle, but it's close to the same sound on Haunted Cities. Opener "Not Today" suggests the first record's "Tall Cans in the Air"; it sounds like a futuristic retelling of 1977 punk, and Sen Dog stops by for a guest verse. "Apocalypse Now" isn't as effective -- its lyrical rage is empty, and the converted drum'n'bass backing track doesn't go anywhere. But the single "Gangsters and Thugs" is as oddly effective as the debut with its turntables and hedonism, organ drop-ins, and skittering percussion racket. "Gangsters and thugs/Criminals and hoods/Some of my friends sell records/Some of my friends sell drugs." And speaking of Sen Dog, B Real appears on the dubby swagger "Killafornia." "What I Can't Describe" appropriates vintage soul and Cali G-funk; it even features some raps from Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. The swaggering "Madness" sounds like a Rancid track recut to fit the Transplants' shadowy street-fighting sound -- while the hammering guitar and Armstrong's vocal part are pulled right from punk, the theremin-and-keyboard breakdowns are strange flashbulbs from an alternate Golden State reality where it's always night and thugs drive around in jet-powered Packards. Haunted Cities suffers lyrically. Blood, guts, and I'll punch you (or worse) if you look my way -- that's about the size of it, particularly when Aston's on the mike. But the weird Clash-isms of "American Guns" and "I Want It All"'s chopped-up rhythms and scratches work even though they shouldn't. It's all so blatantly postmodern. But the whole package ends up having this strangely alluring glimmer. It's like discovering California Babylon after being lost in suburbia.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2005
Label:
Warner Bros Mod Afw
UPC:
0075679381422
catalogNumber:
93814
Rank:
179804

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Transplants   Primary Artist
Tim Armstrong   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Matt Freeman   Bass,Bass Guitar
Brett Reed   Percussion
Victor Ruggiero   farfisa organ,Wurlitzer
Paul "Ganxta Ridd" Devoux   Vocals
Godfather   Vocals
DJ Die   scratching
Dave Carlock   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Theremin,Background Vocals
Gemi Taylor   Guitar
Scott Abels   Percussion
Travis Barker   Percussion,Drums,Loops,Group Member
Richard Stites   Background Vocals
Jennifer Tefft   Flute
Rob "SR" Aston   Vocals,Group Member
Rich Graiko   Trumpet
Dave Holden   Saxophone
Baby Down   Vocals
Kim Jade Fry   Bass
Gawtti   Vocals
Ganxsta Ridd   Vocals

Technical Credits

Tim Armstrong   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Audio Production
Ted Barker   Composer
Billy Jam   Sound Effects
Dave Carlock   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Fredrik Sarhagen   Engineer
Nicky C.   drum programming
Carlos Paucar   Programming
John Morrical   Engineer
Brian "Big Bass" Gardner   Mastering

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