Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Album Review : Crooked Timber - Therapy?****

It has been quite a while since I last bought a Therapy? album, about 14 years or so, and so since I added Infernal Love to my cd collection back in 1995 I have missed over half of the Belfast band's studio output. Therapy? now have seven albums available on emusic, so on the strength of this effort I might just fill up the holes in my back catalogue.

Therapy? have always seemed to straddle a midway point between metal and punk, they play music that can be arguably either, or both, big riffs combined with staccato drums and shouty vocals, enough to please followers of both camps.

Since the last album I heard, it's obvious that Therapy? under founder member and lyricist Andy Cairns havn't got any happier, a strong current of misery and discontentment runs through the album, the song titles echoing the desperation bleeding through the lyrics, Blacken the Page, The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself, I Told You I Was Ill. Don't go thinking that Clowns Galore with a jangly opening guitar is going to be a barrel of laughs either, Cairns might be singing "It keeps us happy" but he makes it sound anything but.

Drummer Neil Cooper does a grand job on this album, his percussion is slightly stripped and bare, clearly defined and off beat in the manner of Lars Ulrich back when he was a great sticksman.

The penultimate track on the album is a ten minute musical epic named Magic Mountain which moves nicely between, dare I say it, happy and positive guitar work and rumbling bass heavy riffs.

The final track on Crooked Timber is a real treat, Bad Excuse For Daylight grates slowly into life, shuddering and building with heavy guitars, bam bam bam drums, then changes into another heavy but clipped riff as Cairns pours more misery laden lyrics into the mix, the haunting refrain of "In this bad excuse for daylight, I feel, less...." makes way for a warped guitar hook. Love it, play it back to back with the grim Diane from Infernal Love and you've got more anguish and desolation that most folks prefer in their music, but for those of us who cleave to the dark side, it's wonderful.

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