With its cascading piano hook and seedy drum 'n' bass pulse, Transplants' "Diamonds and Guns" is the zaniest rock radio hit of the new year. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the song is the identity of the man behind it: Rancid's Tim Armstrong, who recorded the band's debut album at his home studio with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and two unknowns --- skinhead mouthpiece Rob Aston and producer Dave Carlock. On "Diamonds and Guns," this quartet are joined by rapper Son Doobie, whose characteristically blunted delivery gives the track a paranoid edge.
Transplants continue their streetpunk drum 'n' bass experiment on the rest of the disc, which also delves into reggae and hip-hop and will probably piss off more than a few Rancid fans. Armstrong bangs out a driving rock-steady guitar hook on "D.J. D.J.," and elsewhere his attack borders on industrial. He shares lead-vocal duties with Aston, who almost steals the show with his belligerent outbursts: his shout-off with AFI's Davey Havok on "Quick Death" is the album's punk highlight. Few punks of Armstrong's stature ever venture this far into the unknown, and even fewer pull it off as convincingly as he does here.
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