Show Me the Body explode on ‘Dog Whistle’

Miles Parrish

Courtesy of iTunes.

On March 29, the New York City band known for blending hardcore punk with hip-hop and banjos, Show Me the Body, released their third project, “Dog Whistle” on all platforms.

This follows their “Corpus I” mixtape, which released in 2017. With this release, the band continues to explore different corners of hardcore sound as they add their own elements to it.

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“Corpus I” as well as the previous album, “Body War,” explored very differing sounds. “Body War” showed the band’s take on mixing the more conventional punk sound of heavy guitars and crushing drums with hip-hop elements in the delivery of front man Julian Cashwan Pratt with the addition of the band’s signature banjo riffs.

“Corpus I” saw a much more hip-hop sound at its core combined with more experimental, electronic instrumentals that feature multiple rap artists such as Denzel Curry.

Going into “Dog Whistle,” I was curious to see if Show Me the Body would build upon the sound of one of their previous projects or continue to explore new lanes.

“Dog Whistle” is an extremely raw blend of the two, and is captivating in how frightening it is. The band strays a bit more away from the elements of hip-hop that they’ve explored in the past, but the combination of the raw, punk sound of “Body War” and the experimental electronic elements of “Corpus I” are a welcome pair.

The album starts off bleak with the opening track, “Camp Orchestra.” The song builds slowly until it finally erupts with Pratt firing off broken, pained lyrics about his views on the music industry. “I am a doll upon a string. They pull it, I have to sing. No work will set you free.” In these lines, Pratt comes to grips that his work as a musician does not free him of the cycles of a more conventional occupation that he once thought he could abandon through music.

Badge Grabber” is a morbid tale of someone aiming to redeem themselves by becoming a police officer. The song features heavy-hitting, distorted guitar riffs over crackling drums as Pratt tells the “badge grabber” what he’s capable of. “Become no one. You can kill anyone.” On this track, Pratt seems to take the role of the Devil on the shoulder of the song’s subject matter as he encourages the badge grabber to take up a role in society that Pratt sees as no more than a servant to an entity that will give nothing back to them.

The album keeps these dreary and abrasive themes alive throughout the rest of its play time. “Arcanum” details Julian’s coping with a world that seems to be at complete odds with him. “Up late in the city that’s an enemy. Visions come awake, the lies and piss inside of me. I hate ’em, there’s no love in this world for me. Arcanum, the only card I wanna see.” Julian’s lyrics are paired with a somber banjo in the background, as the song slowly builds to its culmination of an instrumental that carries about the same level of uncertainty that we see in Julian’s lyrics.

The album closes with “USA Lullaby,” which does about the exact opposite of what a typical lullaby is known for. Instead of a soft, slow track that eases the listener out of the album, “USA Lullaby” is arguably more grinding and abrasive than any other song on the album. The whole track is heavily distorted as Pratt yells through the confusion for the listener to push past the standards and depriving cycles of their community and fight for their future. “Lullaby, baby don’t say a word. You gotta live beyond what you see. Urban zone, no more homes. Fight to break carceral continuum.”

“Dog Whistle” is an album that encapsulates the struggles of Show Me the Body’s home in New York City while also relating that message to the world outside of New York. The band approaches these struggles with a sound that is a reflection of the predicaments they find themselves in. Julian Pratt’s fragmented, desolate lyricism serve as essential cracks in that mirror that show just how worn that spirit is.

Score: 7.5/10

Favorite tracks: Badge Grabber, Drought, Now I Know

Least favorite tracks: Forks and Knives

Collegian reporter Miles Parrish can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @parrishm20.

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