Darrell Ford
staff writer
August 12, 2005
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Friends and Nervous Breakdowns Friends and Nervous Breakdowns
March 22, 2005
Equal Vision Records
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Weerd Science
Friends and Nervous Breakdowns

first of all, joshua eppard gets insane amounts of love for putting together a hip-hop effort with only two guests. secondly, this departure from coheed and cambria is really, really fucking clever. there's no other way to state that. i'd be glad i picked it up for the liner notes alone, but the attitude the set was approached with is absolutely commendable.

joshua is coheed's drummer and, at least on the record, evokes the lovable geek who's finally had enough. "joshua, they're laughing at you" and "how to be a..." explore some of the darker responses to the emotional and physical beatings weerd science has taken in the past. while a lot of the album is similar thematically to the violence and bullying that eminem expounded on in "the slim shady lp," and there's a playfulness to a different (and more outrageous) aspect of hip-hop like eminem’s "the marshall mathers lp." at the same time, the political bent of the aforementioned “how to be a…” and “conspiracy theories w/ out mel gibson” make listeners check their expectations at the door. this is not like limp bizkit side project bigdumbface’s duke lion fights the terror. eppard seeks to evoke a full range of reactions from listeners, not just to make us laugh with his outlandishness.

friends and nervous breakdowns is full of moments and images that should make any discerning listener squeamish ["girl, your baby's worm food" features an unforgettable and wrong-in-so-many-ways chorus] but that may also lead to guilty laughter. despite expectations [this is, after all, a side project from a rock outfit], the serious effort that breathes life into "friends and nervous breakdowns" makes it harder to take some of the jokes with their grain of salt ["if you're really knocked up by my homie i'm gonna punch you in the stomach"] or as simply bravado.

the record excels at putting and keeping the listener off balance, and the beats are stellar. some of the delivery could have been smoother, but for a first outing, this was a very solid effort. i think that with a second effort weerd science would feel more mature and adept at blending his rhymes, but given that the first album was ten years in the making, that may not come to pass. it’s an effective side project, and surprisingly consistent considering the content, but i can't help thinking it could be more.

Release date: March 22, 2005
Label: Super Rap
Rating: 6.6 / 10

[RMR]