Anders Brørby – Traumas

traumasDon’t be misled by the pastel pink cover, Anders Brørby’s new Traumas is every bit as dark as its title suggests. These 10 new tracks are by turns sad, menacing and captivating.

From the album’s notes: “Like a cracked mirror held up to the stages of grief Traumas buries deep into the scores of the more challenging parts of life, relationships and memories.”

There is a point to all of this darkness. Brørby has produced a personal, revealing work that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has experienced anxiety, depression or both. Its smothering heaviness is wholly relatable, even when the work feels purposely inaccessible.

Indeed, “Depression Puzzle” serves as the album’s violent, ugly climax. (Despite the fact that it follows the nightmarish “Cruel Morning Orgasm.”)

We hear a lot of talk these days about the emergence of more progressive views on mental health. Celebrity suicides are treated as teachable moments, rather than the tabloid gossip they once were. And those brave enough to step forward and talk about their own mental health are rightly seen as doing good.

What we could do with a great deal more of though is an understanding of just how difficult it is to live with anxiety and depression. As much as we sympathize with Anthony Bourdain, for example, few really understand his decision. How could someone so outwardly successful make that choice? The answer – as difficult as it is for some to grasp – is that the alternative hurts too much.

We need to understand this because we all have friends and family members who experience that pain virtually every day. And if we’re being honest, we don’t always give them the help or the space or whatever it is they need to make it to tomorrow.

In this respect, art like this offers tremendous value. Brørby hasn’t just produced a well-crafted, fascinating album. He’s produced a line of sight into a kind of tension and sadness we should all understand, even if we never experience it directly.

Kevin Press

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