A frequent topic to this blog as well as one of the biggest things to happen to my life in the past year (or ever, for that matter) is the Christian rock band, Showbread. I say “rock” but it would be unfair to limit them to such a vague genre. No, they deserve vaguer…They deserve to be referred to by their self-proclaimed genre, RAW. I have talked in the past about what they have done in my life by means of finally giving me a Christian band I could actually get into, jam to and understand and care about what they were saying. The guys in Showbread, though a regularly changing lineup, save for their lead singer, Josh Dies, have always seemed truly genuine in their beliefs, their purpose and the message they carry.
Such credible guys in such a powerful band came into my life at the perfect time, when God opened my eyes to all he had done and was in the process of doing for me. When we watched “The Journey” music video on Fuse On Demand during a countdown hosted by Family Force Five, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought about them, but after hearing the song several more times, I was in love. Regular readers of the blog have seen music videos for their songs “The Pig,” “The Journey,” “Oh! Emetophobia!,” “Vehement,” “Mouth Like a Magazine,” “Lost Connection With the Head,” and “I think I’m Gonna See You” to name a few, so you would have somewhat of an idea of the sound of Showbread.
Until now, that is. Their latest release, “Who Can Know It?” from their new label Come&Live! is beautiful, melodic, relaxing, low-key and…everything else you couldn’t imagine the band who brought you the above listed songs sounding like. Critics and fans alike have drawn similarities (much to the band’s pleasure) to acts such as early Genesis and the Flaming Lips. While the loud, heavily distorted guitars were toned down considerably for this recording, they’re not entirely out of the picture, and the lyrics, which I’ll talk about next, are even more powerful, original and true than their previous work, and their lyrics were one of my favorite parts to begin with! The rhythmic, flowing, mildly electronic at times sound that’s left after the dust settles in “Who Can Know It?” shouldn’t surprise true Showbread fans much, especially after hearing the insanely moving ballad “Matthias Replaces Judas” from their album “No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical” and it’s never sounded so good or refreshing.
The strongest point on this album is the 100% Bible-based lyrics that are both beautiful and moving, while having such a dramatic edge, hitting on topics the traditional American Christian would rather ignore or avoid. The opening track “A Man With a Hammer” involves a man considering the murder of his family, a woman who is cheating on her husband, a woman getting an abortion and a man planning to rape the girl in his bed, all of which are the lowest of the low and dreadfully evil in our eyes, yet all loved equally by the Father.
“Thieves and liars, murderers and whores
homosexuals, extortionists, pedophiles, abortionists
junkies and rapists, adulterers and terrorists
every woman, every man all ransomed by your love for them.”
Another beautiful song lyrically (they all are, I’m only highlighting a few) is the open letter to music entitled “Dear Music,” that is written like a break up letter between lead singer Josh Dies and music itself, citing the differences between the two and why he’s grown tired of the art and seeking to find something different. The song comes around by the end of the second verse, turning into a full blown praise song after realizing the Creator as the driving force behind each.
“Still we have our common ground, which can never be annulled
to sing of the one who made us both, for He is wonderful.”
“Myth of a Christian Nation” seems to have been pulled directly from my attitude toward patriotism and the idea that God is always on our side because we’re America. The song is in bold defiance of what we’ve come to know as traditional Christian and American teachings, that a flag means something, that the enemy is the evil one and if you just fall in line, you’re going to be okay.
“We think we’re doing something right no matter how bizarre
Make some stranger into a demon cause we’re told that’s what they are
and no one thinks to wonder why we’ve become so despised
All the evil things we’re known for seem to righteous in our eyes.”
My favorite from the tracks on the album is “You’re Like a Taxi,” a song that turns death into a character, and lets him know that we are not afraid of him anymore since we realize he actually has no powers. He once had power over us, but after we’ve been born again, death is really no more than just a taxi who takes us from this place on earth that we’re merely visiting to our permanent home in Heaven.
“To some you’re like a prison when they’ve yet to taste freedom
and maybe you feel bitter because Jesus broke your kingdom
Once you felt so powerful and power made you happy
but now you’re like a ferry boat
now you’re like a taxi.”
In total there are 10 tracks on this release from Showbread. 10 tracks that should be heard, considered and used as praise songs by fellow Showbread fans, and as the band encourages, especially those who haven’t like Showbread. This brings me to my final point in regards to how wonderful this album is:
Sure, the album is free (download here), which is more than any other band of this caliber has ever offered their fans, but when you consider how and why it is in addition to what a step of faith it was to release the track, one can’t help but love the guys of Showbread even more. The album and tour has been completely funded by fans. No cash from the record label has been used, rather, a fundraiser started by the band did it. In an attempt to raise $13,000 in 3 months, offering rewards for fans donating a certain amount (I donated $60 which gave me the entire Showbread Tooth and Nail discography), the band not only raised $13,000 during the first week, but ended up raising nearly 3 times that amount by the end of the fund raiser, allowing the band to release the album for free and make the shows of their tour completely free.
So why would a band do this? To paraphrase, lead singer Josh Dies said that they consider their music their ministry, not a money making endeavor, stating that they’re simply wanting to deliver the Good News that they’ve been fitted with the burden to carry, and simply wouldn’t feel right charging people to hear it. And if that wasn’t enough of a reason to dig them, the sudden change in sound for the band in addition to the band’s comments about how their fans are fair-weather and constantly abuse them when they change their sound tells me that the band has strong faith that they will be taken care of as long as they believe in the cause and that the Lord will provide. They don’t need to make the same album over and over again just to please fans, rather, they can use their music, their creative endeavor and talents given to them by the Creator to praise His name and trust that He will provide for them. What a bold statement for a band to make.
Please download their album, and even if you don’t like it, roll it around for a bit and maybe share it with a friend. What Showbread has done here is original and powerful and something other bands need to take note of. May Raw Rock Kill You Forever and Ever, Amen.
Enjoy today’s haiku:
Steak and potato
resting now in my stomach
Pumpkin pie later?