Show Me The Body frontman Julian Cashwan Pratt isn’t one to mince his words. In a recent interview he claimed that “hardcore punk has become very boring” and that “my goal is to avoid repetition, I see nothing special or beautiful about re-creation and reenactment.” These proclamations could be interpreted as mere posturing; classic punk rock bravado, controversy for its own sake. However, Pratt and his band are much more than mere provocateurs, though they also clearly revel in generating destructive mischief. Their third album Trouble The Water is the definition of putting your money where your mouth is; a singular, audacious work so potent and exhilarating it seems perpetually on the edge of bursting into flames.
These muscular thrills are given an incisive edge via the trio’s (comprising vocalist/banjoist Pratt, bassist Harlan Steed and drummer Jackie Jackieson) sharp ability to channel the harsh metallic textures of their home city New York. The New York City-based band’s aesthetic on these twelve tracks is intensely urbane. The tone of Pratt’s distinct distorted banjo on tracks like “Food From Plate” and “Using It” is raw and serrated; the texture of a razor wire fence surrounding an abandoned industrial unit. Even Trouble The Water’s synths—used more prominently here than on the band’s previous releases—are savagely eerie, from the pre-gang-fight vibes of “Out Of Place” to the subsequent synthpunk carnage of “Boils Up.”
Further bolstering Show Me The Body’s commitment to Pratt’s future-minded claims are the bold lyrics of Trouble The Water. Amidst the portraits of urban malaise (“Out Of Place”) and grimy wastelands (“WW4”) are numerous assaults on the cultural, social and political stasis that the world currently finds itself in. The riotous “Demeanor” finds Pratt announcing, “I want to feel what I’ve never felt before,” while on “Buck 50” he spits, “Future becomes the past, don’t need to be, but they like it like that and it shows,” attacking the nostalgia merchants that benefit from this static dearth of new and radical ideas. This ideological underpinning gives the album a sense of vitality, one that’s thrillingly backed by Show Me The Body’s commitment to formal radicalism. Trouble The Water is easily one of the best hardcore albums of the year, and perhaps the most vital.
Label: Loma Vista