This is an incredible album for summer, cruising around with the top down and the tunes up.
So how many of you out there have been turned off from listening to Diarrhea Planet simply by the name? [Editor’s note: Me! Me!] Raise your hand. It’s OK if you do; many people have been. When I first heard about them a few years ago, I immediately thought, “Gawd, no—just no. I’m not listening to a band with a name like that; must be some shitty grindcore band” (pun intended). But what if I told you I was way off, wrong, just dead wrong? Be like Neo: Take the red pill, go down the rabbit hole, and see the truth.
Diarrhea Planet is actually a straight up six-piece Nashville rock band known for rowdy live shows and featuring a four-guitar—yes four-guitar—attack. Previous works have been in a more pop-punk vein and not in a scuzzy metal subgenre. Their latest release, Turn to Gold, finds them expanding on their sound and maturing a bit. Producer Vance Powell was able to capture more of their live sound and get them to play to their biggest strength: riffage. This is a very intricately constructed album with multiple layers of guitar that give it just an absolute massive feel. They are all excellent guitarists and the interplay on each song between them is a joy to listen to. And it is catchy as hell. This is an incredible album for summer, cruising around with the top down and the tunes up.
Things start off with an instrumental piece that sounds more like something from Fang Island, or even Explosions in the Sky. It’s very emotive when the guitars wail and you are filled with this incredible sense of joy. One thing with this album, though: They are not afraid to let their influences stick out. You hear a little Gaslight Anthem, some Springsteen, and JEFF the Brotherhood. Not to say they are afraid to go balls-to-the-wall and rock out—I mean, come on, they have four guitarists.
The second half of “Ruby Red” and the entirety of “Ain’t a Sin to Win” are clear examples these guys want to not just melt your face, but obliterate it. They also know when to slow things down and let melody take over versus brute force, like on the incredibly sublime “Dune” and the dream-pop-esque “Lie Down.”
Overall, this is an incredible album and should make everyone who has passed over these guys regret that decision. Shitty name aside (pun #2), I look for a great future from the band based on what they have given us on Turn to Gold. This is going to rightfully end up high on many Best-of lists for 2016. Stand out tracks are “Life Pass” which should be the theme song for this summer; “Bob Dylan’s Grandma”; “Ruby Red”; “Ain’t No Sin to Win, “Dune”; and “Lie Down. A- | Mike Koehler