Showbread – Anorexia / Nervosa

AnorexiaNervosa

For Showbread’s third release, they did something quite different: They created two concept albums in the form of a story (which can be read in the liner notes), with the actual music as its ‘soundtrack’. In fact, they specifically asked the fans to buy the physical, instead of digital, copies because the digital ones don’t come with any liner notes, which are literally half the story. And though there are separate lyrics in the songs, the notes don’t contain any of them (for lyrics you must go to the release site)— instead, the booklets focus only on the story, which includes a lot of metaphor; quotes/pictures/other story elements strewn along the margins of the pages; and (actually beautiful) hidden messages woven throughout (in four different codes!).

The tale follows two sisters, Anorexia and Nervosa, who believe that they can fulfill themselves (Anorexia by doing superficial good deeds— superficial because, deep down, she’s doing it for recognition, so it’s really out of pride more than anything else— and Nervosa by exploring immorality). However, when both of them pause to look back on what they’ve done, they realize how empty they really are… and there, at their lowest moments, they find what (and who) can heal them and make them truly whole.

As you might guess, this double release is more intense overall than their previous work— and, in Nervosa, it tackles some very heavy subject matter head-on. (Nervosa gets herself into some awful things; hence the Content Advisory and its rating. Still, as unpleasant and sad as her story is, it does have a beautiful finale. Obviously, that particular album was written for people who have gone through equally serious stuff.)

Musically, Anorexia Nervosa moves to Hardcore with an Experimental touch (and the vocals placed somewhat in the background); and though there are some familiar synths and guitar tones, it now has much more variety in both instruments and melodies, and it’s also much heavier and harder-hitting. Vocally, all of the bandmembers make appearances, and featured guests include former Showbread member Tae “Ivory” Mobley, Reese Roper (formerly of FIF), Amy Roper, Jeff Fortson, Solomon “Soul Glow Activatur” Olds of Family Force 5, and Lori Gerlach.

In all, Anorexia Nervosa is not for casual music listeners, or for those seeking albums of songs; taking place on both paper and disc, this double release forms one intense story that journeys through deep darkness to the light. Consider yourself warned.

Our rating for Anorexia: 5 Stars. 5 Stars
Our rating for Nervosa: 4 & 3/4 Stars. 4 & 3/4 Stars

Nervosa (explanation below).

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