By: Liam Syrvalin, Contributor
[Loma Vista Recordings, 2022]
Key Tracks: “Loose Talk”, “Radiator”, “WW4“
Within every genre of music, there are bands that serve to push the boundaries of the style of music they subscribe to. Show Me the Body is one of these bands, continually challenging traditional ideas of what hardcore music can be. Trouble The Water is the latest release from this powerhouse group, and it is perhaps the most innovative record this band has ever put out. The banjo has been a staple for Show Me the Body, but they do even more to incorporate other sounds within the record. Lead singer Julian Cashwan Pratt morphs with these new sounds perfectly, creating incredible atmospheres that simply haven’t been explored within hardcore. Elements of speedcore, noise, slowcore, nu-metal, 80’s punk, and more all exist within Trouble The Water, and all of it is pulled off incredibly well.
The album’s opening song, “Loose Talk”, is a blazing introduction into what the album holds in store, both through the theme of the lyrics and the pacing and tone of the track. The opening banjo riff is idiosyncratic for Show Me the Body, but the tone quickly changes into an aggressive, yet trance-like mood as the refrain repeats. The song culminates in a slow, punching beat, with inspired screams layering over the impressive instrumental work. The lyrics of the track refer to their experience coming out of Brooklyn, and the frustrations that come with it; specifically, issues surrounding gentrification and over-policing. This is a good single on its own, not mentioning the overall impact it has for setting up the rest of Trouble The Water.
“Radiator” is a song that truly showcases just how far Show Me the Body can push the envelope with their sonic creations. This track flirts with other genres constantly within its two and a half minutes of runtime, mainly with noise, speedcore, and dance beats. The song creates an uneasy and unsettling air in the first verse, followed by apocalyptic speed drum beats and a screaming Pratt yelling out the discomfort in your soul. Besides the obvious relatability the last refrain has, with the repeating, “Things I’ve done follow me”, the final breakdown of the song inspires mass action and violence purely through instrumentation on a scale that many traditional hardcore albums fail to achieve.
“WW4” is a glistening track towards the end of Trouble The Water. Although lacking in the experimentation the rest of the album plays on, the track makes up for it with a beautifully hypnotic spoken-word banjo section leading into a furious second chorus and outro. The line, “Don’t care how they spinning it, World War 4 outside, they giving it” leaves the listener with much more to think about than just the perfected style of hardcore Show Me the Body displays in the track.
Trouble The Water is an album that truly lives up to the potential Show Me the Body has shown in past records and performances. Not only does the group continue to build on the banjo-hardcore style they work with, but they add even more daring experimentation that works very well almost every single time. The theme of the album is more clearly heard and expressed than in any other past record the band has put out. This album is a trailblazer for experimental hardcore, and it deserves the attention of the entire music industry.