by: 311

311 unexpectedly became a modern rock hit, thanks to the group's muscular fusion of funk, rap, and punk. For the follow-up, the members of 311 decided that it was time to flex their creative muscles and deliver a long, 21-song album establishing the group as a musical force. A project of this magnitude is almost doomed to fall on its face, and Transistor nearly does. 311 can pull off skanking funk metal without too much of a problem, but when the group truly tries to lay down a groove or to explore dub territory, it becomes clumsy and awkward. Also, 311 simply can't come up with enough first-rate material to keep the 74 minutes of Transistor interesting. There are enough good songs for a strong 30- to 40-minute album, but there's too much filler to make Transistor triumphant. [Transistor was also released in a "clean" edition, containing no profanities or vulgarities.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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