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Diarrhea Planet’s ‘I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams’ Is a Fount of Tasteless Pop-Punk Excellence

Diarrhea Planet / Photo by Ian Witlen
SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Label: Infinity Cat

Hey, kids! Poop! POOOOOP!!! Let’s get this outta the way: There are crappy band names, and then there’s Diarrhea Planet, which doesn’t even qualify as the most scatalogically jarring moniker in the rock underground. (No, that’d be excellent Aussie noise-punk outfit Bits of Shit; think about that one the next time you’re trapped in a festival Porta Potty.) It’s a goofy stunt that screams “third-gen pop-punk circa ’97” even louder than DP’s actual songs, which bounce with the manic verve of grown-up Blink-182 fans who just discovered an older cousin’s arena-rock and hair-metal albums, and are trying to parse the overblown fun therein while filtering out all the cheesiness (but retaining all the shirtlessness).

It’s easy to picture the Nashville sextet mulling over their triple-guitar format (see also Lynyrd Skynyrd, Drive-By Truckers) when a light bulb explodes over their collective heads as they yell, in unison, “What if we had four?!?!” It’s a total “This one goes to 11!” move, and as practiced on their second album, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, it means two or three of the guitarists take the riff while the remaining axemen solo or arpeggiate or generally play the harder part.

But these doofs also know from songcraft, and when you combine their overblown fun-at-all-costs vibe with hardworking harmonies ‘n’ hooks, it nicely slots in Diarrhea Planet with fellow Tennessee rockers (and labelmates) Jeff the Brotherhood and the distinctly more baked Natural Child. A package tour heavy on weed-hazy basements, couches nobody would want to sit on, and (naturally) overflowing toilets would be perfect.

These guys even genuinely emote now and then. “Kids” shoots for all the feelings: “I feel so lost when I try to bring myself down / So I can relate to the things you think about,” Jordan Smith sings, splitting the difference between Weezer and the Beach Boys like any good child of Soulseek. “Like burning bridges / And having children / The salty taste of my sweat / In the ocean.” Then the riff opens up, and someone steps on a phaser. The thoughts here are never more than semi-deep, but the solos are pure Jack Handey delight. Thematically, most of the time they stick to blowing up stuff and naming Ramones-length songs things like “Hammer of the Gods” and “White Girls (Student of the Blues Part One).”

Pretty great for mindless pop-punk, in other words. But, yeesh, that ridiculous name. Oh, to be young, (not so) rich, and tasteless.