Some bands just seem too novel to have staying power. Such was the case when Showbread released No Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical in late 2004. Playing a style of music they labeled as "raw rock," Showbread attacked stages nationwide with matching tight red pants, black shirts, keytars, and adrenaline like no other band in the general market. Their debut was intense, fun, catchy, and raucous. They featured two vocalists: Josh Dies handled most of the singing, and Ivory Mobley put the "raw" in "raw rock" with his screeching, "one pitch" screams. It was a formula that worked… for one record. I will readily admit to thinking of Showbread as one in a plethora of "one hit wonder" bands that would disappear off the map as fast as you could say "dead by dawn."
I was wrong. Somehow Showbread has kept their "raw rock" persona without compromising growth and maturity on their sophomore effort Age of Reptiles. The new record is a lot less aggressive and a lot more melodic, but still edgy enough to be classified as rock ‘n roll. In fact, "rock ‘n roll" defines it a whole lot better than "raw rock" does. Mobley does a lot less screaming, and Dies gets a lot more solo time. The whole thing just sounds a lot more straight-forward, honest, and likeable. You'll be bobbing your head, tapping your feet, and singing along to most every track. It's darn near danceable.
Like No Sir…, Age of Reptiles takes a sarcastic look at our culture, but with a more of an emphasis on the solution this time. Indeed, we are the "reptiles" that the album title references, in need of shedding our skin. The album closer sums the record up well, speaking directly to Jesus, and asking forgiveness for all the various reptiles, "You wrap Your loving arms around this wretched thing called me. Your love is all I'll ever need. Your love has set me free. The Truth is only You."
The lesson to be learned here? Never write a band off. Showbread has pleasantly surprised me with Age of Reptiles. What could have been an energetic-yet-altogether-mundane second piece of work is actually one of the catchiest, smartest releases of the year. Showbread has taken a step of faith that fans will believe in their new direction. And I know I don't count for much as somewhat of a deserter, but for what it's worth, I can't get this one off of repeat.- Review date: 7/30/06, written by Josh Taylor
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