At some point, the gents of Diarrhea Planet will grow up. Whether they want to or not, their bodies will start breaking down due to their frenetic and physical live shows. Maybe they will change their name in the process or their musical choices. This is not the time, however, to think about those possibilities, but rather we should enjoy the sonic (and physical) exploits of the Nashville sextet.
Their new album, Turn to Gold, once again has Diarrhea Planet blasting their rocket fuel-driven, arena rock. It is bombastic and even at times can be overreaching, yet in these moments the band’s all-fun-work-later mentality comes pouring out. Blistering and window-shattering, dueling guitars and bone-jarring rhythms characterize these songs, like “Hot Topic”, which is a metal-inspired, prog-rock-infused, alternative rock number. Or in other words, it takes the best parts of Slayer, Dream Theater, and Foo Fighters and blends them together to create an explosive sound.
There are, not surprisingly, tracks that will cause involuntary head banging, like the similarly proggy “Announcement 2” and the Van Halen-esque party rocker, “Life Pass”, which seems tailor made for Sammy Hagar. “Bob Dylan’s Grandma” resonates with the alt-rock of the ’90s and is one of the album’s highlights. Part Green Day, part The Presidents of the USA, the song has mosh pit written all over it. But what makes the track brilliant is the sudden pause towards the end before the tempo soars again with whirling guitars and crashing cymbals. The song represents in what Diarrhea Planet could become – more than just an energetic party rock band but also a thoughtful and attentive one.
To say that Diarrhea Planet have not grown up, however, would be a mistake. In the album’s less frenetic songs, the band demonstrates restraint and control, allowing their stories to come out more clearly. “Ruby Red”, for instance, is retrospective and contemplative, as the band looks back at their youth and growing up. “Let It Out”, which sounds like an ’80s Bryan Adams hit, tackles the longstanding, youthful challenge of living up to expectations and chasing one’s dreams.
While Turn To Gold contains much of the familiar rock ‘n roll of Diarrhea Planet’s past efforts, there is some experimentation and different. The opening song, “Hard Style”, verges on post- and prog-rock and offers an approach and style completely unexpected, whereby they channel Queen. The album’s closer, “Headband”, meanwhile, is epic. Coming at nearly 8 minutes, the song cycles through multiple genres and no fewer than four tempo changes but doing it all seamlessly. The other notable trait is something not expected from the band – a sense of urgency. “Headband” is arguably the band’s masterpiece, and what could end up being their own personal anthem. It could also represent a new direction for these party rockers, who one day will grow. Then again, maybe they have or are that stage of blossoming, as Turn To Gold is not just a party-rocker album; it also has its fill of surprise gems.
Turn To Gold is out now via Infinity Cat Recordings. Diarrhea Planet are Jordan Smith (vocals, guitar), Emmet Miller (guitar/vocals), Brent Toler (guitar/vocals), Michael Boyle (bass), Evan Bird (guitar), and Ian Bush (drummer
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