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Transplants, ‘Haunted Cities’ (La Salle/Atlantic)

While Transplants’ self-titled debut caught the trio at that moment when the third-beer buzz kicks in, resulting in some boozy jollity and spirited yo-bro party chants, the new record seems to have picked up several pints and bong hits later, when shit starts to get grisly.

One of the more entertainingly pathetic moments on the MTV reality show Meet the Barkers came when blink-182 drummer Travis Barker attempted to take charge of the arrangements for his nuptials with baby-mama/model and narcoleptic hausfrau Shanna Moakler. For a minute, Travis energetically read the riot act to his overpriced, can’t-do, L.A. nightmare of a wedding planner. But when the three met later to discuss seating plans, etc., he was so baked that he just stared forlornly into the distance, practically drooling onto his Cadillac logo tattoo.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was how the recording sessions went for Haunted Cities, the second album by Barker’s rap-rock side project with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and some wigga dude named Rob Aston. While Transplants’ self-titled debut caught the trio at that moment when the third-beer buzz kicks in, resulting in some boozy jollity and spirited yo-bro party chants, the new record seems to have picked up several pints and bong hits later, when shit starts to get grisly. The first single, a marginally catchy electro-ska mishmash called “Gangsters and Thugs,” devolves into tone-deaf toasting by a woozy Armstrong and beastly rapping by Aston. Even worse is the Uncle Kracker-ish, beach-volleyball soul of “What I Can’t Describe,” in which the poetically challenged Aston parses his worldview: “Money can’t buy me love / And that’s true / But money can buy me drugs / So that’s cool.”

There’s also the cornball “Killafornia,” featuring B-Real and loosely inspired by Cypress Hill’s nihilistic stoner anthem of the same name, and “American Guns,” both of which are tossed-off Armstrong riffs in service of faux street reporting. If all this isn’t enough, Houston rapper/producer Paul Wall is working on a “chopped and screwed” version of the record, and Barker has a turntables/drums duo with Nicole Richie’s boyfriend, DJ AM. Dude, pass that bong this way — stat!

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