The Planet Smashers - Descent into the Valley of... (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Planet Smashers

Descent into the Valley of... (2011)


If Catch 22's 2003 full-length Dinosaur Sounds was the paradigm of an antiquated genre gone far past its prime, the Planet Smashers' similarly themed 2011 LP should be called The Big Bang.

For the most part, the Planet Smashers rode through the third wave on gimmicks and joke songs rather than any jawdropping musicianship. Numbers like "Super Orgy Porno Party" and "Coolest Guy in the Whole World" were amusing, and occasionally catchy, but it wasn't really until the band's 2005 effort Unstoppable that they started to break from the mold.

Descent into the Valley of… is a regression to their days of pre-maturity. With songs like "Food Fight!!!," "I'm OK if You Want to Party," "UPS of America" and "Until You Go Away (Triple Baconator)," it's clear the Planet Smashers weren't interested in pursuing another more serious album a la Unstoppable.

Despite the thematics, the Planet Smashers still churn out some relatively effortless danceable third wave ska. Catchy hornwork punctuates goofy tracks like "The Hippopotamus" and "Looking Good," while "My Obsession" weaves an echoing Moog through its rather heartfelt chorus.

There are a couple throwaway tracks like "UPS of America" and the muddy punk of "Food Fight!!!" which has the album's worst lyrics: "Dump your lunch on someone's head / Flip the table, wreck the spread / Chuck a steak and throw some stew / I don't care if I get hit by you." But there are still enough quality tracks like "I Believe You" and "Something Special" to carry the weight of those that aren't as listenable.

Descent into the Valley of the Planet Smashers may not be as even or all-around enjoyable as its predecessor, but for those looking for some carefree ska with traces of caveman rock (and who isn't looking for that?), the Planet Smashers have added another decent entry to their discography.