THERAPY? - review added 26th February 2009
Album Review: Crooked Timber (2009)
For fans of: alternative rock... and everything being just about perfect
Birthed in Northern Ireland in 1989, Therapy? are led by founding member Andy Cairns (guitars, vocals) and early recruit Michael McKeegan (bass). The present line-up was completed in 2003 when drummer Neil Cooper joined.
Famed for songs like 'Screamager' and 'Nowhere', Therapy? (mustn't forget the question mark) play a downtuned punk-pop with plenty of metallic bounce and a modicum of rock bite. Their sound comes across as a heavier, less anal version of modern, charting bands like The Killers and The Kooks.
They had a couple of top ten albums in the UK in the mid 90's... so, after twenty years, do they still have it?
They certainly have something, but what it is I can't quite put my finger on. I don't think I want to catch it though. The music isn't what you could call technically impressive. It has a Neanderthal, base level quality that's reminiscent of a bunch of hairy blokes sat in a cave beating things with sticks. The guitars play with oodles of gain but little finesse. They aren't heavy, they aren't zingy, they aren't even that musical. On numerous occasions they sound woefully out of tune.
Andy Cairn's singing is, at best, under produced... and that's when he sounds like he can be arsed to sing at all. For much of the record he sounds like a drunk bloke in the corner of a pub shouting random obscenities. The language on the record isn't filthy, but perhaps it should be. At least it would be interesting.
Good points? Well... 'Exiles', dominated by an industrial strength bass line, is okay, and 'Somnambulist' has it's vaguely melodious moments, but that is literally it. The rest of this album makes me want to cover my ears, run away and cry like an effeminate baby.
The old Therapy? music was akin to a lumpy vegetable soup: it was simple, rustic and strangely moorish. Crooked Timber is like a fish and chocolate trifle: somebody somewhere is bound to like it, but it's hard to know why. Maybe it's just that my ears have been blessed by some superb music recently, but this album really does suck like a confused egg blower.
Check out... Their earlier work - start with Troublegum and go from there...