Infinity Cat Recordings
Sept. 20, 2011
Generally speaking, when I’m critically listening to a record, I’m running through a mental checklist of things to look out for: fitting production value, clever arrangements, whether or not the words “crazy” and “lazy” are rhymed anywhere within the album. You know. The ushe. (Is this how you spell the short version of “usual”? I have no idea!)
All of that went straight out the window when I put Loose Jewels, the debut LP from Diarrhea Planet, into my stereo. As far as I’m concerned, there’s exactly one thing that I want out of the long-awaited full-length by the local kings of party-punk guitarmageddon: a record that sounds like a Diarrhea Planet show. The muscle I pulled in my shoulder pumping my fist to “Your Head” in my car can pretty definitively answer that question for you.
Loose Jewels is exactly what you would expect to hear on a Diarrhea Planet album. It’s 19 minutes and 15 seconds of loud-as-hell anthems to drinking beer and skating with your friends. Of the 11 songs on the record, seven of them clock in at less than a minute and 30 seconds — if nothing else, the boys in Diarrhea Planet sure as hell know how to make a concise statement. But that isn’t to say that these are simple tunes. The days of hyper-simplistic songs like “Ghost With a Boner” and “Powermoves” are clearly over, making way for tight, economical (and, frankly, better written) tunes like “Raft Nasty” and “Juggernaut.”
The greatest practical joke Diarrhea Planet has ever played is naming themselves something so reprehensibly stupid while being so ridiculously talented. There isn’t a single wasted second in any of these songs — they're all so dense with hooks that they could cut glass. Heretofore, even I thought introducing four guitars into a party-punk band seemed like overkill, but Loose Jewels makes a compelling argument for their existence.
No one will ever confuse a Diarrhea Planet tune for the thoughtful introspection of PUJOL or the balls-to-the-wall “up the punx” attitude of Cy Barkley, and that’s exactly why they work so well in Nashville’s punk scene and on this record. The only thing that matters is having a good time, and it’s hard to fault them for that — especially in the notoriously “this is serious, you guys” world of punk rock.
Let’s talk about what this record won’t do for a minute. If you’re not into punk, Loose Jewels isn’t going to change your mind. And if you’re still unwilling to get over the ickiness of their name, then there’s no hope for you anyway. But for everyone else, Loose Jewels is an excellent, if a little too short, roller coaster for fans of the kinds of bands that No Idea Records used to churn out on the reg in the early part of the last decade — bands like Against Me! and Latterman.