Show me the Body

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Body War (2016), 6.5/10
Corpus I (2017), 7/10
Dog Whistle (2019), 6/10
Trouble the Water (2022), 6.5/10

New York's punk-rockers Show Me the Body (vocalist Julian Pratt, bassist Harlan Steed and drummer Noah Cohen-Corbett), originally members of Letter Racer collective, blended hardcore, hip-hop, and noise-rock on the EPs Yellow Kidney (2014) and SMTB (2015), presumably under the influence of Death Grips.

The album Body War (2016) refined that idea. On one hand there are highly energetic songs that defy stylistic boundaries (the shouted and pounded lugubrious minimal rap-rock of Body War and Worth One, the booming and vicious Aspirin, the spastic funk-rock of Two Blood Pacts) or that disrupt classic styles (Chrome Exposed is a dissonant hybrid of noise-rock and hip-hop, and Tight SWAT is a more traditional punk-rock banger). On the other hand, the music sometimes becomes merely a soundtrack for Pratt's declamations: Death Sounds 2 and Honesty Hour are theatrical recitations in haunting soundscapes, and the insane crescendo of Metallic Taste ends up sounding like a modern David Peel.

The stylistic range on the 17-song “collaborative mixtape” Corpus I (2017), credited to their Corpus collective, is exhilarating, from the industrial rap of Trash to the twisted soul ballad Just a Slither (and these two turn out to be the simplest songs) via a cornucopia of detours, each hijacked by some new eccentric trick. In the slow horrorcore of You Thought What You Saw Was It the screech feels like the scratching of a turntable. Taxi Hell begins as a duet for screams and jazzy bass lines. The glitchy Hungry, a collaboration with Dreamcrusher, is a slow-motion musical crash. In a Grave mobilizes Eartheater, Denzel Curry and Moor Mother. The masterful arrangement of Halogen (the standout) evokes a martial psychedelic trance. The psychotic nightmare of Everything Hate Here (with Moor Mother) ends in a tropical film noir. Another industrial rap Cyba Slam Fif World Dance Party boasts the best beat of the album (30 seconds into the song). They haven't forgotten their hardcore roots and the album includes the tribal and hard-rocking Stress as well as two punk-rock bangers, namely My Whole Life and especially Proud Boys.

Dog Whistle (2019) is far less exciting. There are fairly straightforward hardcore bangers (Camp Orchestra, Madonna Rocket and the Sex Pistols-esque Drought), The derailing moments are few: the Death Grips-esque USA Lullaby, the ghostly and then desperate elegy Arcanum and especially the chaotic panzer rap-rock Forks and Knives.

The EP Survive (2021) contains a new hardcore, anthem, Survive.

Trouble the Water (2022) is generally a harder album, from the brooding banjo-driven ripper Loose Talk to brutal quasi-metal closer Trouble the Water via the booming and distorted Food from Plate, the relentless punk spasm the Using It and the explosive funk-rock of We Came to Play. The tone is sometimes shifting towards the new wave of the late 1970s: standout Radiator is born from the union of Pere Ubu-esque distorted keyboards with acrobatic drumming, and Boils Up, with its distorted synths and loose accompaniment, sounds like a tragic version of David Thomas.

(Copyright © 2022 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )