All You Can Eat
Open E Records
01 April 2014
by Tomas Doyle
The first thing to remember when reviewing a Steel Panther album is that, really, Steel Panther aren’t a band. Def Leppard are the band, Bon Jovi are the band, Van Halen are the band, Mötley Crüe are the band – Steel Panther are a parasitic sideshow on the hulking belly of stadium rock. A satire, a send up, a comedy façade performed by four apparently libidinous geriatrics in wigs and based on all of cock rocks most ludicrous traits. So the real question when reviewing the new Steel Panther record is this: Is their shtick still funny after three (THREE!) albums?
That’s a tough one to answer – comedy is, arguably, even more subjective than music is. This being said, there are some truths to be readily revealed once your scratch the surface of All You Can Eat‘s spunk lacquered surface. The main certitude is that Steel Panther’s one joke is the same as Steel Panther’s one joke has ever been. That joke (for those of you who are uninitiated) is basically this: Sexual deviancy, party hard, loads of drugs, aren’t we outrageous, look at how upset all the Guardian readers are, LOL.
Except, actually, Steel Panther aren’t that outrageous. As anybody who knows anything about comedy will tell you, the value of a gag decreases every time you hear it. The more familiar you become with the plays of a comedy set up, the less likely you are to be taken by surprise and, well, laugh. That is a problem for ‘Panther because for every time the feed line is the same (and if this album is one thing it is a masterclass in how many words you can rhyme with ‘dick’) the payoff gets more and more tiresome.
To compensate for this the band have tried to go really over the top with the gross out content of the subject matter. Choice cuts here include ‘Bukkake Tears’ (a song about spunking on a girls face even though she is crying), ‘On The Rag’ (a song about not being able to fuck a girl because she is on the rag), and ‘You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk’ (a song about a really fit girl who is very annoying). Are these songs misogynistic? Probably, but that is point, we’re at the stage where this band are obviously trying so hard to be offensive in a bid to save their tired old tropes that actually all you want to do is pat them on the head and go ‘aww, nice try, is that the best you’ve got?’.
All You Can Eat is almost tragi-comic in that regard. This is a band of four grown adults, all of whom can clearly all play their instruments rather well, desperately tugging at their mothers skirt and demanding that she watch them dive. Unfortunately, when she turns around they don’t have the bottle to get on the high board, instead they are content to limply flop into the pool the same way they’ve done a thousand times before (P.S you can have ‘Disappointed Mother’ as a song title for the next record, lads).
So, in essence, Steel Panther is a one trick pony that needs to go to a rescue home. They’ve got to up the ante on the comedy stakes if they are going to continue to be compelling but you doubt that they have the guts to go down the Anal Cunt route and write songs with titles like ‘I fucked Trent Reznor’s kid, what kind of fucking name is Balthazar anyway?’ Of course, there will be some people who think that ‘Panther capture the essence of the 80s brilliantly, that they’re really one in the eye for the PC brigade and just ‘SHUT UP MAN THIS IS WHAT ROCK N ROLL IS MEANT TO BE ABOUT YEAH!’ These are people who will continue to enjoy the lunatic ramblings of Jeremy Clarkson. If you appreciate your humour with even the vaguest spark of ingenuity though, this really is a total waste of your time.
Sounds Like: This lot must have mortgages to pay
Standout Tracks: The one about the weird sex thing.