I’m going to clear the air right from the start on this one:
This album contains 3 truly remarkable tracks full of fantastic drumming that give the music an exploding heart and super-catchy melodies that sneak into your head and kick your brains around when you least expect it. The rest of the album is, sadly, sort of a snooze fest. This is not to say that the album isn’t melodic as hell throughout (it is) and it’s not to say that the drumming and musicianship isn’t top notch (it is), it’s just that most of the time they don’t make it memorable.
And the great thing about all of this is that it doesn’t get in the way of me totally loving this band.
“Water Girl”, Parasite Diet’s first track on their self-titled debut, sum up their intentions: to be a punk band that the girls can dance to. Basically these guys, if given time, might become something like The Bay City Rollers of the Paducah scene: harmless power pop whose melodies you remember years after all those other ‘real’ punk bands have blown their tube amps and traded their 4 note vocal sneers for jobs at Wal-Mart. In fact it’s that lack of pretension that I love so freaking much about them.
Remember the first time you heard The Ramones self-titled debut? Did it not sound like the happiest music ever made? Whatever happened to that style of punk? Why did all the melodies go “emo” and all the honesty turn into two chord screamfests? It wasn’t until the moog synth solo about a minute into Parasite Diet’s album that I realized this band seems to understand something about all of that, something that all the hipster music snobs in the world will never want to admit: that punk music IS pop music. It began as pop music and will never die because throughout the years the good punk bands keep discovering that punk is just a pop song, only more honest. Parasite Diet, you have rediscovered punk music.
And so I end with this: The reason The Ramones are the greatest punk band of all time isn’t because of their chops or their melodies (which are incomparable of course), it’s because anyone who has seriously written songs knows that it’s so much easier to write a sad song than it is a happy one. And why is that? Because people would rather get you down in the hole that they’re in than bring you up any higher. It doesn’t always work, but, to quote one of their songs: “I’m not saying that you get my high, but you totally fly my kite”. So thank you, Parasite Diet, for trying to take me higher. Sometimes you drop me flat on my face (“you’re in the trunk of my car”, ugh), but for the moments you don’t (“katie kittenheart”, “I call it soda, she calls it pop”, “just tonight”), it’s worth it.