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Posted on March 24th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Magdalene Taylor

The latest album from California punk band, Strung Out, Transmission Alpha Delta, isn’t really all that punk. Many of Strung Out’s more recent albums haven’t been that punk either, so this isn’t necessarily out of line. Nevertheless, by some mystery, the larger world continues to classify them as punk. So, what genre are they really? What even is punk? Transmission Alpha Delta supplies few answers. Punk is typically defined by what it lacks: structure, notable variations between songs, or general concern for having any markings of a traditional song. Strung Out seems to care too much for this album to fit that description. It jumps from something in line with progressive speed metal, to pop punk, to classic rock. Variety is a great thing on an album when it’s done well, but it’s unclear what’s really going on in the case of this album, and there’s not much of an incentive to find out.

At the very least, Transmission Alpha Delta is commendable in its lack of complete repetitiveness, both on the album itself and in terms of the band’s entire discography. Having stuck to the same record label (Fat Wreck Chords) throughout their history and falling in line with the tradition of Southern California punk, it’d be easy for the band to ride on this narrative, and they don’t. Nonetheless, the music itself might have been better if they had. Opening with “Rats in the Walls,” the progressive speed metal qualities are most pronounced, and not in a good way. Thematically, lyrically, and musically, “Rats in the Walls” is off-putting, and creates somewhat of a lull that carries through the next few tracks.

Things are changed up a bit midway, with the more pop-punk tracks like “Modern Drugs,” “Nowheresville,” and “No Apologies.” All of these do have clear Southern California '90s punk overtones, but are driven by some more speed metal qualities and wailing guitar. This region of the album is actually pretty likeable, but unfortunately isn’t dominant. Particularly in the case of the latter two tracks, the band's strength in rhythm (including some decent bridges and breakdowns) is enough to compensate for some of the failings of the rest of Transmission Alpha Delta.

The remainder of the album can be defined more as modern rock with a bit of a metal edge. Songs like “Magnolia” and “Westcoasttrendkill” are definitely the kinds of songs to get radio play. Their style is not overtly bad, but there’s nothing that really makes them standout. Besides a few good punk songs, Transmission Alpha Delta is rather mediocre.

Track List:

  1. Rats in the Walls
  2. Rebellion of the Snakes
  3. The Animal and the Machine
  4. Modern Drugs
  5. Black Maps
  6. Spanish Days
  7. Tesla
  8. Nowheresville
  9. Magnolia
  10. Go It Alone
  11. No Apologies
  12. Westcoasttrendkill
Strung Out - Transmission Alpha Delta Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

52 / 100
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