Almost a decade on from their first EP, Show Me the Body still make music with the same fervour and the same motivation. Trouble the Water, the hardcore band’s third studio album, is a homage to their native New York, a place in which they’ve found community while witnessing rampant gentrification and overpolicing, themes that have stalked their entire discography.
New York was essential to Trouble the Water’s creation: it was recorded entirely at Corpus, the shared DIY space Show Me the Body founded in Queens in 2021, and welds together the sounds of iconic New York subgenres from hardcore to hip-hop. It’s as loud and haywire as the environment they find themselves in, but a shade of quiet dread is threaded throughout.
Although the record features a storm of screeching guitars and menacing drums, it is lead singer Julian Cashwan Pratt’s staccato vocals that are most electric: at times they’re snarling and spat out, at others murmured, but always chilling. On Food From Plate, a chugging track that brings to mind the discordant shredding and uneasiness of Slint, his growl erupts into a menacing, guttural cackle.
Drawn out interludes such as Loose Talk and WW4, which centres Pratt and his banjo, offer some respite from the album’s intensity, but not much – these quieter moments are still unnerving, slowly swelling into compulsive outbursts of noise. Shivering with tension, Trouble the Water is an exciting and urgent call to come together and kick off – at once a reflection of, and a cathartic release from, volatile times.