Trouble the Water is a monotonous and boring listen

Show Me the Body

Trouble The Water

Loma Vista Recordings · October 28, 2022

New York-based post-hardcore group Show Me the Body recently released their third solo studio album, Trouble the Water. For the most part, their sound is consistent with their prior releases – heavy and dissonant guitar production, loud and booming drums, and gritty, attitude-filled vocals. That being said, a lot of the songs on this album start to sound the same, making for a monotonous listening experience.

This isn’t to say that Show Me the Body doesn’t try different things on this album at all. Quite to the contrary, there are several points where they use sounds outside their typical style, specifically the noise genre. For example, “Radiator” has an interesting, industrial-electronic melody that is integrated with punk instrumentation throughout the track – until the end, where a chorus of voices repeats the refrain of the song in a very robotic manner. “Out of Place” also includes a more subdued synth line, along with the vocalist, Julian Cashwann Pratt, trying his hand at singing instead of his usual shouting delivery. It isn’t technically proficient, but for the song it fits the aesthetic. “Boils Up” sounds like a continuation of “Out of Place” – it’s driven by these synth lines that probably came from the same machine as those in “Out of Place,” but much louder and darker. The guitar production is spacey on this track, which is a distinct change of pace from how the band sounds on the rest of the album. It should also be noted that the drumming on this album is consistently fantastic, “Boils Up” included. The band recently replaced their drummer, and Jackie Jackieboy is giving his all here. This is also evident on the track “Using It,” which not only features this phenomenal drumming, but also enjoys a particularly good guitar riff on melody.

All this being said, there isn’t as much variety with the rest of the album. To be honest, most of the tracks here are indistinguishable from each other. Especially on tracks like “Food From Plate,” “We Came To Play,” and “War Not Beef,” there isn’t much to latch on to. They can all be described with a few limiting adjectives– dissonant, loud, and not very detailed. It doesn’t help that on a lot of these tracks the lyricism is fairly simple, a lot of the time just sounding vaguely violent and not much else. There are also points on the record where the band’s experimentation doesn’t work. “Demeanor,” for example, has electronic instrumentation that sounds like something a really inexperienced kid would make in Garageband. “WW4,” while having noticeably more substantive lyrical content, also features the most outwardly annoying vocal performance on the record, really clashing with the acoustic guitar on the track.

While it isn’t all bad, and Show Me the Body took experimentation head-on, Trouble the Water just gets boring after a while. There aren’t many moments that particularly stick out as intriguing or different, and the ones that do aren’t very memorable. As a whole, the record is kind of… forgettable.

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