Diarrhea Planet – Turn to Gold
Here’s hoping that Diarrhea Planet is a well-intended joke that blossomed into substance, a fart-blossom, if you will. Now, don’t get me wrong. Diarrhea Planet is one of the better live bands going right now –really. Their recordings thus far have been entertaining and fun – riff-laden, clever, sassy songs with strong melodies, hooks galore, and more, more more guitar, which is almost always a good thing. But there’s that name. Ugh. Diarrhea Planet has got to be, hands down, the worst name for a band ever. Sorry, but I just have a hard time verbalizing that moniker. Sure, the Butthole Surfers had a doozie of a name too. But they were profoundly and truly fucking weird enough for their name. The thing is, Diarrhea Planet is a conventional, kickass, meat-and-potatoes rock band – with a name that blasts out the other end, so to speak. (I’ll stop, lest I be accused of the very bad jokes/stagnation into irony I decry in this review. The horror!)
Diarrhea Planet’s third long-player, Turn to Gold, finds the band at an odd juncture in its career arc. The in-jokes (such as the admittedly catchy party anthem from the first album, “Ghost with a Boner”) are wearing thin, but the music itself builds from strength to strength.
What we’re getting here is a band with a rock-solid rhythm section and (count ‘em!) four awesome guitarists, all of whom can Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen your ass into the freakin’ ground, dawg. Sure, the entire premise is overblown. My guess is that the whole enterprise was conceived as a wry, wacky side project for a weekend keg party that somehow developed into something real. Once made real, the aforementioned in-joke kept getting better. And still they’re stuck with that name. In this way, Diarrhea Planet is, well, they’re fucked. But then again, who cares? Turn to Gold’s alchemy turns what might have been a silly/shitty concept into Precious Metal, as it were. (I simply can’t stop. It’s just gushing out of me like a brown waterfall.)
It’s really a paradox that a band with such a terrible name has gotten so popular. And this brings us to the dilemma at hand. With the advanced songwriting and high-gloss, “big” production, it seems that Diarrhea Planet is now taking itself quite seriously indeed. The band delivers 10 big hits that are really big – and I mean big. This sounds something like The Cars or Cheap Trick with a bad indie rock singer and dueling dual guitars (2 X 2 = 4) in the tradition of Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden. This shit (again, sorry) would sound great blasting (doubly sorry) out of the stereo speakers of muscle cars everywhere. Too bad rock ’n’ roll is probably over – and that Diarrhea Planet will never find relief from the constipation that is their name. (OK, I’m through. It’s finished. Let’s clean with a flushable wet wipe and move on.)
Turn to Gold