Showbread - Who Can Know It?
Record Label: Come&Live!
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Showbread. When I think of Showbread, my thoughts immediately go to the first album I heard from them, The Age of Reptiles. One of my favorite cuts from that album would be “The Jesus Lizard”, and its still one of my favorite songs to listen to and reminisce about high school and the music scene I was in back than. I then went back and listened to No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical and I realized that I like the direction Showbread was heading more with Reptiles then Nihilism. Then, they surprised me by releasing their epic double-disc concept album Anorexia Nervosa, a departure from both previous albums. It was then I realized Showbread had no intention of appeasing anyone but themselves. Their determination to continuously destroy their fan base by changing their very sound is only beaten by their determination to do it well. Both The Fear of God and their newest offering Who Can Know It? via non-profit Come&Live! may have limited their fan base, but their pure skill at which they perform have to bring in new fans that can appreciate them for their honesty and passion they pour into their music.
Josh Dies has outdone himself this time. Who Can Know It? has impressed me and I thought Showbread couldn’t do more then they already have. Not everyone will enjoy the musical style, but I honestly think everyone can appreciate the vulnerability Dies and the rest of Showbread bring in their latest offering. The lyrics are still the best part of Showbread in my opinion. The lyrics are so honest, vulnerable, and at times brutal. The song “Dear Music” is Dies expressing his frustration with the music industry. “If I could turn my back on anything / I'd choose it to be you / I've lost all interest in almost every thing that you do / You've more to do with complacency and the whims and trends of children / than any sort of worthwhile thing or the few folks left who feel them”. Holy crap. I wish I could quote the whole song, but you’ll just have to go and listen to it and the rest of the album.
The musicianship of this album is superb. To be honest, my expectations for the production of this album were low since the album was completely funded for by their fans back in the spring. But it has been great listening to this album. Its gritty in all the right places but also its “produced” in the right places too. Its hard to pick a favorite song because all have their great aspects, mainly the lyrics. Dies has always been one of my favorite lyricists but he has seriously engrained himself as a master songwriter.
In conclusion, the best way to finish this review is a quote I found in their press release biography: “Love them or hate them, one cannot deny that Showbread have refused to compromise their agenda: to pursue art on their own terms as dictated by their beliefs, even at the expense of success. If more bands pursued this ideology the world of music would be a strange (and better) place indeed.”
So what’s the best part about this album? It’s free. All you have to do is go to here to download it.
It is most definitely a grower. I feel it could have used a bit more contrast between songs, and I haven't quite yet gotten to love it yet, but I appreciate what they did here. They're maturing, its obvious, and the subject matter of the songs is evident of that. It's mature song writing, much like TFOG, maturity being sophistication and self-awareness (as in Dear Music).
It's not perfect, and it's not the same kind of Showbread from No Sir and the others. And that's fine.