Leaders of the New York underground, hardcore trio Show Me the Body stress a need for community throughout their cathartic punk-rock opus ‘Dog Whistle’.
Hardcore trio Show Me the Body’s latest project delves into a greater sense of community and respect for the city to which they will forever call home, New York. With ties to Letter Racer, the NYC arts collective that brought the likes of Ratking, Wiki, Dark World and even producer Tony Seltzer into the underground spotlight, Show Me the Body have always relied on a sense of family surrounding.
Now, with debut album Body War and mixtape Corpus I (featuring Princess Nokia, Cities Aviv and even Denzel Curry) behind them, SMTB have released Dog Whistle, a well-polished 11-track LP that shows just how dominant they can be.
Stream: Dog Whistle – Show Me the Body
The album opens with their first teaser single “Camp Orchestra.” The bass, dark and hollow, slowly draws the listener in, setting the groundwork for what lies ahead. As their centerpiece, the banjo, starts to deliver gorgeously struck riffs. Around a minute in the track picks up and one can hear ringing in the background an alarm of sorts. The instrumentation sways, fluttering left and right and then, it hits. The banjo, now in full-force gain-heavy electric mode, is blaring through the speakers; the instrument has become unrecognizable.
Show Me the Body’s thematic hook, “I am a doll upon a string / They pull it, I have to sing / So no work will set you free / Nah, no work will set you free / Work!” is a direct message to the music industry as a whole and this idea of being a musician in the digital age. There are pop stars who have become shaped and molded into the image their label desires, but in order to truly create what you want, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment and downright belief in one’s message. Sure, they have a following, but they are quick to remind you that they have not “made it” just yet.
Never ones to slow down, the following song “Not For Love” pieces together the jam-packed noise rock / garage sound that SMTB’s listeners quickly connect to. Hearing lead singer Julian Cashwan Pratt literally get so close to the mic that the quality “clips” is beyond cathartic – in part because the message is always positive, “Let’s do it right / Let’s do it for love.” All relaying back to that need for community and a helping hand, Show Me the Body notion that if you are to do anything in life, make sure it gives, more than it takes.
On “Forks And Knives,” the group dive into the more electronic production that made Corpus I stand out so much. Easily the most abrasive track here, the kick and deep rhythmic keys make you feel like you are attending a rave inside the depths of Dante’s Inferno. “I’m waiting to come out and show em,” Pratt sings. Always one for properly planned drops, he truly “comes out” in the most out-there way. The breakdown sounds as though one might as well have shoved metallic forks and knives into the speakers input, it is a proper smack in the face. A song to which one can already envision the mosh pits and public explosion when played live.
“When I meet someone that’s good, I wanna die with them, Dead friends, I still wanna say goodbye to them – all I have is family / I would die with them,” yells Pratt on the album’s euphoric “Madonna Rocket.” The track, released with a full music video, is set up in a split screen fashion, highlighting the band’s shows from both LA and NY respectively. It shows the diversity their sound draws in, the camaraderie between fans and the band themselves. If there was any question about how much this trio truly cares about their supporters, all one needs to do is send them a message. One will find that they are welcomed with a near immediate response, and if you are lucky, a heart to follow it.
As a body of work, Dog Whistle is a sharply written outlook on the future of punk within not only New York, but also the country as a whole. SMTB challenge the way of life that has seen mass gentrification within the five boroughs — “participation in anything means the death of something else,” Pratt states on one of Dog Whistle’s interludes.
Show Me the Body have accomplished an album that their ever-loyal fan base will hold on to for years to come; an energetic opus that can only be matched by the group’s very own live performances.
Dog Whistle is out now on Loma Vista Recordings.
— — — —
📸 © Asha Efia Maura