2 April 2015

Therapy? - Disquiet

If ever there was a band from the Eastern side of the pond call the Atlantic that suffered from Slayer syndrome, it is Therapy.  This is the name I give to a band that seems forever lost in the shadow in the album which (no matter how justified the claim) is deemed as their golden moment.  I will get on to my thoughts about that when concluding the album; for now let’s have a little bit of background to the album.  This is the fourteenth album from the Northern Irish alternative rock act who have been going for many years now without actually breaking up (something that might surprise people who do not follow the band closely) as lot of other bands from their era have split, reformed and re-split/re-reformed once again.  But not these lads, they have kept on going and we are here with a new album that was demoed and recorded in Blast Studios in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Their last few albums have been darker and more subtle than other releases, both of them have ended with a long instrumentals and both of them have been little gems which should be given repeat listens.  However there has been a big buzz this time about this release and it seems as if the beast called Therapy is not done with this mortal coil yet, how has the last few years shaped this album and is it a continuation of the good work of their last few releases.

Starting with lead single “Still Hurts”, this sound like Therapy are going back to their old sound with a mixture of riffs, vocals and thunder that brings to mind ‘Troublegum’, ‘High Anxiety’ and ‘Pleasure Death’.  They sound as if they are wounded, battle harden and more vicious than they have for a while.  It is an explosive introduction to the album, straight out of the block with a cylinders firing and not taking any prisoners.  So much for growing old gracefully then….. The second track is called “Tides” which goes for a steadier and epic sound that “Still Hurts”, it is just as powerful and full of regret in regards to the prospects of the world and being left behind.  But with songs as strong as “Tides” which is built on a solid riff and song that play up to all of Therapy’s strong points; the drums sound powerful, the bass is strong and the guitar sound as mournful as the lyrics but with a hint of aggression that they are far from a spent force.  “Good News Is No News” slows things down again, starting off with the bitter phrase ‘Everything is a fucking drama’ which sums up the mood of this song perfectly; when someone is a drama queen and has no perception of what they have become and how they are seen by everyone else, there is a few people that everyone will know who would fit that bill.  This song once again keeps up the good work of the album, making now excuses for brings the subject matter into check; this is one of the highlights of the album and we are only three tracks in, a song about a miserable bastard who keeps dragging you down has never sounded as good for many years.

“Fall Behind” once again brings the more explosive elements of Therapy to the forefront of the song, with a sense of vulnerability and alienation making up the lyrical content of the song.  Andy Cairns, bassist and drummer are on fine form once more, not happy with resting on their laurels they are continuing to forge their own path in this world.  It is also similar to “Tides” which takes its time to sink in, it is great on first listen but it improves even more with repeated spins.  Another sign of a classic Therapy record.  With a wailing feedback and rumbling bass we are introduced to “Idiot Cousin” which starts with the lines ‘Trust use to fuck it all up, when we get near the top’ – for me they never fucked it up at all, but I do not think that is the real aim for this album.  It does seem to hark back to earlier time in their career musically, but with a fresh venom added to the mixture and isolation.  It is a slow builder which takes its time to sink in, but once it does there is no turning back – it is a fucking huge song on this album and well worth the patience required.  “Helpless Still Lost” once again has a retro feeling, but not in a negative way; it just feels as if the short sharp spikey riffs of years ago are being brought out from their resting place; it is not regression, but reanimation, giving fresh light to something that might sound familiar in many ways, yet is total new in other ways.  The wall of feedback at the end is brilliant, the song itself is a slow grooving number that should be getting radio play all over the world. However, the next song to come on “Insecurity” is the first song which feels a bit weak; to be honest it feels like a rework of “Trigger Inside” from ‘Troublegum’ but slowed down slightly.  It is alright, but it feels like a filler track if every I have heard one; the first dent in the armour of this album.

Following on is “A Vulgar Display of Powder” is a song about the downside of having a cocaine addiction and all the joys that come into your world when someone with that sort of addiction turns up.  It is a great riff, some very insightful lyrics and something that can strike home for a few people.  It is a great song with a message of warning against the use of the marching powder of doom.  “Words Fail Me” continues the good work of this album, sounding like the natural progression of the ideas first explored on the song “Living in the Shadow of a Terrible Thing” from their last album “A Brief Crack of Light”.  It has that pop-punk vibe that has been one of their calling cards of late and it keeps the album bouncing along in the right direction.  The penultimate track is called “Torment Sorrow Misery Strife” which starts off with the reverb vocals of “Ecclesiastes” but ends up sounding a lot like the type of track which could have easily appeared on ‘Misery’ or ‘High Anxiety’.  It is fast paced and it does not outstay its welcome either.  It does bring us to the final track of the album – “Deathstimate” which is one of the heaviest tracks that Therapy have done in an awfully long time, start off with the lyrics ‘I don’t know where this is going, I don’t know how long I’ve got’ and you know that you are not in for a happy cheerful time.  It makes for a dark and harrowing ending, it is the perfect bookend to the explosion of “Still Hurts”; it bring the curtain down with a fitting barrage of riffs, drums and feedback.

What we have here is an album from a battle hardened act who have been making music for the best part of two decades and have never rested to long on their own laurels; they have also just kept on doing what they feel is best and hope that the audience come along.  This is a much more aggressive and passionate volume compared to ‘Crooked Timber’ and ‘A Brief Crack of Light’; not that these as passionless albums, this one just seems to have something more to it.  Now the big question for some people is much like the big question that gets levelled at Slayer with each release – is it better than their biggest release?  This is a really unfair on the band; as good an album as ‘Troublegum’ is, you cannot keep looking back at that golden moment.  It is an incredibly hard act for any album to follow, even all these years after the event.  Thankfully whilst the band are proud of that album (they recently completed a tour to celebrate the twentieth release of the record), they seem to ignore it and just keep on doing what they want.  What would be a much fairer question this – is the album any good?  The answer here is a resounding yes, they still sound as if they give a shit about their sound and they are not making an album just for the sake of it - unlike some acts I have heard recently, the passion has not faded and I am so happy that they still make great music.  The fact it does move the band in a more aggressive direction is also something that I have enjoyed on this album – not that the other albums were acoustic guitars and harps, it just seems as if they have found something new to be pissed off about. It is another fine release which should be rising high in any Therapy fan’s collection – basically, purchase it now.

8.5 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track – Still Hurts

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Therapy website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For the album on Deezer here

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