Besides their cheeky name, Diarrhea Planet’s defining characteristic might be that their scream-along anthems are propelled by four guitars. Their third record, Turn to Gold, is their self-proclaimed maturation, “[their] Back in Black.”
That’ll of course mean lyrically acknowledging the growing pains of ‘life puberty’: when your body is all good but the 20-to-30-something assimilation into adult society and the workforce is a bit tougher. It also means some of the singing resembles Springsteen (for better or for worse), while some of it just is more straight-ahead punkish rock. But the biggest change is that their stepped-up songwriting utilizes some badass harmonized guitar riffs and solos, i.e. this pairing on “Dune:”
Four dudes playing power chords in front of a two-man rhythm section makes for a fun little party on stage: not everyone is really needed, freeing up players to engage in onstage antics like crowdsurfing, climbing the walls, etc. And they still utilize this on this record at times, but most of the album features simultaneous melodic riffs, solos, chords, or ebow-ed amp feedback. You know that three-piece you love so much? Admit it, when the guitarist takes a solo, a huge chunk of what you loved about the record is gone as the main riff under it disappears.
This evolution perfectly fits their lyrics as well. The sound is more mature in that the pieces fit together better, but it’s just as self-indulgent as ever. Just as the well-organized solos are out of the guilty-pleasure-iest corners of metal and pop-punk, they grown-up version of DP still take pot shots at “Hot Topic,” and offer some cheesy “look inside yourself” motivation (“Announcement.”) Even better is the standout track “Bob Dylan’s Grandma,” and its nostalgia for the inspiration derived from heroic shredders coming through your “cassette:”
The last track, “Headband,” embodies this combo of impulsivity and refinement; the eight-minute romp starts out as upbeat dance-punk and ends as a decadent power ballad with an extra slow-down thrown in for good measure. But they still leave room to throw in a sarcastic barb or two:
“Ain’t a Sin to Win” on Late Night: Seth Meyers was basically the aformetioned four-dude, power-chord chug-fest, but we should be seeing this new, more exciting DP live in the near future. For the traditionalists, this album gives a bit of both.