Showbread
Anorexia Nervosa


2.0
poor

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
July 18th, 2008 | 91 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


Having grown up in a Christian cult-like private church-school, it takes a lot for me to be surprised by the oddities of modern-day Christians, but every now and then I’ll come across something that I just can’t help but be amazed and/or freaked out by. Most recently, in doing research about post hardcore band Showbread’s latest double album Anorexia Nervosa, I was reading through the band’s forums looking for more insight into the album’s story, which is apparently very important in the listening experience. Instead, I came across page and pages of people trying to decipher the meaning of each individual song, threads about people crying hysterically while listening to Anorexia Nervosa, and speculation that demonic forces were antagonizing Showbread during the recording sessions and trying to prevent them from releasing the albums. Despite the questionable nature of the people that had those reactions, I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t get me more than a little excited for how Anorexia Nervosa would sound.

The concept of Anorexia Nervosa is certainly one of the most overblown and pretentious ideas seen in awhile. Two discs, each disc with the same song titles telling two sides of the same story, complete with cryptic blog posts containing clues that fans were meant to decipher leading up to the album’s release. There are timestamps that the listener is supposed to follow while listening to the album, and the liner notes contain a story that is meant to be read while listening. While it’s obvious that Showbread put a huge amount of work and thought into these records, the music does not live up to the hype and buildup created by the band themselves. Showbread deserve some credit for knowing their audience though; their fans have eaten this concept up.

Musically, Showbread seem to be attempting to cash in on a trend that was popular in post hardcore a few years ago – replacing the catchiness of bands like Thursday and Thrice with a constant dissonance in an attempt to create more atmosphere and feeling. That is, essentially, Showbread: true emotional value is displaced by artificial noise and production tricks. While the impersonality that this creates may have been what the band intended, it doesn’t make these albums any easier to listen to. Showbread have taken The Always Open Mouth and The Shape of Punk to Come and filtered them through The Downward Spiral without the lasting and endearing qualities of any of those records. The execution of the individual discs is painfully predictable – Nervosa contains traditional Showbread “raw rock” songs, while Anorexia focuses more on “experimentation,” which basically means that there will be electronic drums and vocal effects, as well as a disturbing amount of samples featuring pigs squealing. Showbread’s minor key riffing and badly toned keyboards grow old after the first listen, as each song tries to outdo the one before it in terms of dissonance and unpleasant progressions.

Eventually the album just becomes too much to take all at once. The constant jarring nature of the music becomes unnecessarily overbearing, and by the time Anorexia’s “The Goat” starts playing, you’ve already heard most of Showbread’s tricks. The distortion of the vocals on nearly every song is incredibly grating, and even without the effects, the screams would contain neither the individuality nor the power of someone like Jacob Bannon or Daryl Palumbo. Many songs, such as Anorexia’s “The End” and Nervosa’s “The Death,” end with cacophonous climaxes that annoy rather than excite, due to the overabundance of layers and elements stacked on top of each other. All too often, Showbread merely try to do too many things at once, making for a tedious experience that wears out the listener very quickly.

Fortunately, Showbread do manage to get things right a few times throughout the course of Anorexia Nervosa. Nervosa’s ending piece “The Beginning” shows vocalist Josh Dies turning out one of his few truly great performances; the soaring vocals are inspiring and heartfelt, and halfway through the song the mood changes from triumphant to tense, creating one of the only times where the full band is working on all cylinders. Nervosa’s “The Journey” is on the other side of the spectrum – it’s a driving, dirty, Southern rock inspired song that sounds like everything that Maylene and the Sons of Disaster have been trying to do their whole career. The chorus is intense and catchy all at once, and you’d have to try pretty hard not to yell along with “Yeah, I am, I am the empty empty.” Additionally, the song’s bridge shows the band putting their industrial influences to good use. Conversely, Anorexia’s take on “The Beginning” is a charming piano-driven instrumental that lessens the sour taste in the listener’s mouth after the other songs on the extremely lackluster disc. However, as with all mediocre double albums, you have to wade through twice the crap to get to the good stuff.

From the start, Showbread have always made their influences clear, as if admitting to ripping off other bands makes it alright to do so, but it’s time for them to come up with a sound of their own. Anorexia Nervosa shows potential for something good, if not great. Their penchant for dirty rock songs won’t be fully realized until they put less emphasis on nigh-constant dissonance and unpleasantness and more on songwriting and emotion. The parallelism that the band tried to create between the discs is at least interesting, although most of the time it's poorly executed. As a double album, Anorexia Nervosa is too long and too similar for its own good. As a concept record, it’s pretentious, and it contains some of the most annoying samples put to tape. As an original body of work…well, it just isn’t.



Recent reviews by this author
Trophy Scars Holy VacantsThe Menzingers Rented World
La Dispute Rooms of the HouseMiley Cyrus Bangerz
Letlive. The Blackest BeautifulKanye West Yeezus
user ratings (118)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Matt Harrison CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
Showbread deliver an ambitious two disc record that despite having numerous flaws, provide an experi...


Comments:Add a Comment 
HighandDriving
July 18th 2008


3288 Comments


Good review and I agree with the rating.

SpinLightTwo
July 18th 2008


1043 Comments


The track list itself is pretty pretentious, and just a little overwhelming. This Message Edited On 07.18.08

Wizard
July 18th 2008


19556 Comments


Very nice review Chan. These guys don't sound like I would enjoy them in the least.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

ninjuice
July 18th 2008


6760 Comments


IamInsect reeeeeeeeeallly hates you now...
Or rather, he will.This Message Edited On 07.18.08

slep
July 18th 2008


1604 Comments


Showbread bore the shit out of me.

Excellent review. Are you going to submit this for Dfel's contest?This Message Edited On 07.18.08

astrel
July 18th 2008


2614 Comments


I went through the exact same scenario as you did Chan...

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

thejared
July 18th 2008


207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this cd! what the hell .. the samples can get annoying I agree with that but they mention that in the book that comes with it ... they aren't trying to make this to impress people or whatever there just doing what they do .. and to me it isn't that repetetive.. sure there are some parts but it doesn't become annoying... those are just my thoughts.. and I admit to being a fanboy 100%..

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

raggedragamuffin
July 18th 2008


689 Comments


good review. props for mentioning the always open mouth

SHOOTME
July 18th 2008


2393 Comments


Great review chan. One thing that annoys me about these guys is that all their song names start with "the", it's just repetitive and annoying.

SHOOTME
July 18th 2008


2393 Comments


So, you negged a well-written review because you like the album and the reviewer didn't?

idiot.This Message Edited On 07.18.08

botb
July 18th 2008


9722 Comments


this sounds very interesting. and obvious troll is obvious.

Digging: Solstafir - tta

SHOOTME
July 18th 2008


2393 Comments


obviously.

botb
July 18th 2008


9722 Comments


sounds like someone has some sand up in his/her cooch. =/

but really, is this worth checking out?

SHOOTME
July 18th 2008


2393 Comments


Go away

IAmInsect
July 18th 2008


3800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review bro, pos. so pretty much the thing with showbread is i have an enormous amount of bias for them because of personal connections and experiences rather than their music. a non fan needed to review this anyway.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

at least 'the journey' rules rly hard

IAmInsect
July 18th 2008


3800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

which one?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nervosa

IAmInsect
July 18th 2008


3800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

chan have you listened to their other albums? in particular, no sir, nihilism is not practical?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

chan have you listened to their other albums? in particular, no sir, nihilism is not practical?

nope should i



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy