After pulling the ever-popular “fire your entire lineup” trick, Powerman 5000 put out this album in an attempt to save their career. There’s a more of a straight ahead alternative-rock/punk-rock informed sound on here, although not overt enough to belong to either genre.
I miss their old sound, but this isn’t bad. The problem is that it’s TOO consistent, and doesn’t have any amazing classics like “Supernova Goes Pop” et al. In their quest to not put a foot wrong, they don’t particularly put a foot [i]right[/i] , everything stays at a designated level of inoffensive. You think “damn, just write an 11 minute guitar solo, or a song about porking a sheep. Fuck with my mind a little. This is so safe it’s boring.”
Highlights are “Free”, “Action”, “Top of the World”, and “A is for Apathy,” which all manage to be catchy and hard rocking. “The Shape of Things to Come” is weird and trippy. When I first listened to it the final couple of minutes were buried under a wall of clicks and distortion. I actually got excited, thinking I was listening to some kind of experimental sonic collage. Turns out the digital file had become corrupt.
Carbon-copy an idea enough times and it eventually degrades. This is seen here with some harmless but really boring songs like “Hey, It’s Nuthin'” or “I Knew it Was Right”…I can’t even distinguish their titles. “Stereotype” is the same, but remove the “harmless” part. It’s fucking horrible. It’s like a warmup for the all-out country song on their next album.
But basically Transform is OK and interesting. They rounded everything out and made it all sound the same, but it’s not awful. Strategically apply the skip button and it’s actually a good CD.