Diarrhea Planet - Turn to Gold - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Diarrhea Planet - Turn to Gold

by Amy Putman Rating:10 Release Date:2016-06-10

Words matter.  Nuances matter.  If someone ever curls their lip up at you and says 'but that's really just semantics, isn't it?', then stop right there.  Turn, walk away and don't look back, like a cool guy from an explosion.  They are an idiot.  They have misunderstood the basic principles of communication - the most fundamental aspects of debate - which is expressing exact meaning, in the hope of furthering knowledge and understanding.

I'm telling you, snap your heels like a pre-war German and stride into the distance, eyes narrowed into a grim squint like Clint Eastwood. 

If someone isn't careful about how they express their point, how can you even be sure you're talking about the same thing?  To dismiss questioning over precise intention, or arguing the point they have actually expressed as 'just semantics' betrays a narcissism in which your intention is more important than what the other person receives.  It's a toddler-like throat spasm, arguing through mockery and belittlement that their unexpressed thoughts should take precedent over message read; the solipsism of believing others should automatically understand your every movement.

Stride, friend, stride.  If needs be, abandon your life.  Search for that hopeful, distant, foreign land where people understand what language is for; the utopia in which inner meaning and personal truth are regarded as important enough to convey and comprehend.  Throw a grenade over your shoulder into the lap of the offender.  Chuck your cigar onto the petrol and blaze the awfulness to ash.

Suffice to say that this review is not going to be vague.  When I choose a phrase to sum up this music, it may not seem eloquent, but trust in my choice; the semantics have been considered.  It says what I truly mean.

Fucking Brilliant.

Let's unpick that choice.  I assure you, this is not a flippant decision.  It might seem like a casual phrase but there's deeper meaning.

'Fucking' is a particular flavour of emphatic.  It's not just that it is irreverent, forceful, and insistent on the scale of the emphasis; it is also flagrant, rebellious, young, sexy, and rhythmic.  It might be jarring to older or sensitive ears, but it can also be a marker of a particular tribe of sensual troublemakers, seekers of truth, and ignorers of the status quo.

Brilliant is not just a synonym for good.  It implies intensity, illumination; the kind of world changing light that overwhelms the moment and fills the soul with its tone.  It suggests, if not quite genius, then the agility of mind, sensitivity to nuance, and extreme talent that makes itself appear divinely inspired.  It seems sublime; inhuman; occupying a place of prowess, raised to heights beyond comprehension.

This album was fucking brilliant.  This is a band comprised entirely of musicians of the highest calibre.  They are all so good, in fact, that it seems unfair to pick out any individuals, but the guitar riffs deserve a special mention.  The lyrics are evocative, slipping easily between rally, polemic, and poetry.

This is an album that opens with some of the best classic rock metal I've ever heard, yet retains its tone and signature whilst softening into the harder edge of indie rock.  It is Guns n' Roses, Kiss, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, yet somehow also Smith Westerns, or Mountain Goats.  That's a huge list of seemingly incompatible, epically famous bands, but listen to this record and you will find smudges and smatterings of them all.  At the same time, this music is none of them.  It is something new; it is something accomplished in its mysterious weaving between the recognisable and the original.  It has a mature consistency that comes with mastering ones art.

I have only two regrets. 

The first is their timing.  I ache for a means to send them back to the early 90's.  If they had been lucky enough to have been born in time for that heyday of barely pre-grunge, long-haired, cynicism-lacking jubilance at the apex where rock and metal met the hedonism of early Gen Y, Diarrhea Planet would have been as big as any of the above listed bands.  They would have played huge American festivals; Detroit Rock City; they would have later featured on Wayne's World.

It is a tragedy that they missed that narrow window of being embraced as the worldly innovators they are.  I can only hope that they manage to be swept up to stardom by the 90's revival trend.  To be relegated to the minor leagues for something as petty as being unfashionable, when they are original and fiercely talented - when they ought not to need a trend to carry them - would be bitterly unfair.  There is something to be said for being on the pulse and understanding overarching developments in music, but I am not a Hegelian; fashion is not progress.  The outstanding outliers who find a new tongue to express contemporary society just as well should have a place in the cannon alongside the regular cohort.

My second regret is in their choice of words.  Diarrhea Planet is a name that is so petty and puerile, yet simultaneously tedious and bland, that I cannot associate it with their sound.  It manages somehow to be disgusting without rebellion; tasteless without shock; base without humour.  I love gutter jokes, toilet humour, endless innuendoes, but I was not amused.  It is just so relentlessly infantile.  It is the sort of joke that late night pot smoking teen boys would find hilarious, but it is not a banner to bear when riding your talent into the gritty battle that is the contemporary music world.

I have been won over by the music enough to turn a blind eye, even being the picky bastard I am, but I regret their choice because it will almost certainly damage their chances long-term.  This is not a name to be worn proudly on a t-shirt, or tattooed on an arm, or even screamed at volume, by anyone other than a barely pubescent virgin boy with a scratchy bum-fluff lip crawle, or a faddy hipster who will have a different set of tees next week.  If that's their only target audience then, fine, but I feel strongly they should aim higher.  They can do better. 

I'm not saying they're not doing well.  I know they're way past traction; they're gaining gallomping pace and have a pretty GD large following but I want this band to succeed not just big-time but big-big-time, and even big-big-big-time, or big-big-big-big-time. 

I want their name to be on everyone's lips.  I want them to have full-capacity crowds at the world's biggest festivals.  I want them to be showered in tit-flashes, sweaty crowd-surfers and hysterical joy.  I want them to look down on an endless sea of faces, and I want to be in that ocean of fans.  Diarrhea Planet just ain't gonna cut it.  With a new name, though, anything is possible.  Words matter.

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