Review Summary: ...and they're back.
High-schooler-me just clawed his way to the forefront of my mind and is grinning like a mad-man: Showbread just released a new album, Cancer, and it doesn't totally suck. The Georgia band has again re-invented themselves, though this time they seem to sound a lot like their past albums blended together, this time with a tinge of science fiction (in the form of a full blown film that accompanies the album).
[Disclaimer] As of writing this I haven't yet seen the film that turned me on to this album in the first place, but I have listened to the music, and this is what I think about it:
Cancer sounds a lot like a long lost follow up to "No Sir..." There is screaming, there is singing, there is screaming over and under singing. All of this is mixed up in a much bigger sound than past albums, the band finally seems truly comfortable in it's constantly genre-hopping shoes. The first song on the album is a fantastic example of this. "I'm Afraid I'm Me," skips from piano ballad to punk and ska with ease, as frontman Josh Dies delivers his best lyrics to date with ferocity. the message is clear from the offset: Cancer is going to rip out all of our inconsistencies (particularly those of Americans and Christians) and show us our own cancerous still bleeding hearts. Moving on from their, Cancer begins to sound like a sort of highlights reel from everything they have released in the past 10 years. "Sex With Strangers" sounds a lot like Anorexia and Nervosa, and "Anarchy!" brings to mind the more subdued Age of Reptiles. The album continues this trend, and like Showbread's album's consistent downward decent of the curve of quality, it loses steam as it continues.
None of the songs are bad, per-se, just not as exciting as they could be (again this is all without having seen the accompanying film, which could change my mind entirely). I don't mean to sound like such a downer on the album, each song has at least one redeeming quality (e.g. the grungy dance-beat on "Germ Cell Tumor), but it's simply not enough to win me back. Thankfully, the album ends on a high note, the pair of songs "You Will Die in a Prison," and "You Will Not Die in a Prison" encapsulates Showbread's ever present message to a T: The world is messed up, hopeless, and broken -- but there is hope. Also the album ends with a guitar solo, not the best guitar solo, but a guitar solo none the less.
Listening to Cancer is like listening to the history of Showbread, there really isn't anything new here, other than the film, but it stands as a solid reminder of how fun, and inventive the band can be. Dies, as a lyricist has certainly improved. He still mixes violent and grotesque imagery with themes of hope and faith, and on Cancer, it all seems to flow together much more effortlessly. The album is absolutely worth checking out, though it may not win too many new fans, this is the album die-hards have been begging for since 2006. Also it is free, which is awesome.