Show Me the Body
Trouble the Water
Any innovation in hardcore is a welcome one, and Show Me the Body—the NYC activist punk ensemble equally likely to use sludge metal, electronics, banjo, white noise, or hip-hop rhythm in its heated mix—have certainly used rough, radical inventiveness as one of their tools to go with their irked social politics and overall propulsion.
Guided by the aggressive tendencies of singer/programmer/banjoist Julian Cashwan Pratt, bassist/sampler/synth player Harlan Steed, and drummer Jackie Jackieboy, what Trouble the Water acts more maximally than their previous releases. It’s hardcore but so much more, as Show Me the Body veer into squelching synthesizer-based dance fuzak with more in common with LCD Soundsystem than Fugazi. That direction fuels the hypnotically repetitive vocal refrain that fills “Radiator” like an aggro-instrumental texture, the glitch-hop tones of “Demeanor,” and the woeful wall of noise that is “Using It.”
Mostly—and this is not to turn Pratt into a typical frontman while part of a collective—it’s the vocal textures and potent poli-sci lyricism of Trouble the Water that move all the needles for Show Me the Body in 2022. The questions of who owns outsidership of “We Came to Play,” the fighting-for-your-rights of opener “Loose Talk,” the gnarly chortle that fills the rotted-out relevancy of “Food From Plate” and “War Not Beef”—all done in a series of differing actorly voices that would surprise Meryl Streep—act as a soulful, craggy, manically diverse set of stepping stones as to where this ensemble can, and likely will, go moving forward.