Therapy?
Crooked Timber


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 26th, 2009 | 39 replies | 7,578 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An amazing record filled with songs that define quality experimental rock music nowadays. It is darker, significantly more groove-oriented than their previous work, yet it superbly captures the energy of the band.

There are not many bands who are able to cope with the pressure of releasing newer and newer quality albums and remain fresh through the period of 20 years. Northern Ireland rockers Therapy? happen to belong to this small group of bands that do it. Despite the huge success of "Troublegum" back in 1994, they've never tried to make something similar to this cd. Their every album is different and has its own identity. To name only a few of their influences: they recorded heavy, yet melodic music with metal influences ("Semi-Detached"); they experimented with noise rock ("Suicide Pact - You First"); and they delved into the past of punk rock ("Shameless"). Their last several albums came in quick succession, but they decided to have a longer almost 2-year break before this one. The result is the record that feels more rounded and complex than their last lacklustre "One Cure Fits All". Their 12th full-length album "Crooked Timber" marks the band's comeback to experimental songwriting. It focuses more on the omnipresent groove and less on catchy melodies. It also has some post-punk references in common with an amazing 10-year-old "Suicide Pact - You First", but the band's reliance on the precise rhythm section dates back to their early hit "Nurse" and this record stays the closest to what they've done on "Crooked Timber". The band consists of guitarist/vocalist Andrew Cairns, drummer Neil Cooper and bassist Michael McKeegan.

This is a very exciting album to listen to because every song is different. It is visible the band didn't stick to one songwritng formula this time. The first six tracks are downright amazing showing the band constantly pushing bounderies and expanding their sound. It all starts with dense, claustrophobic “The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself”. Sparse verse builds to a nerve-racking pause in which Andy generates some single guitar sounds to make you even more furious. Then, the song sublimely climaxes with Andy screaming "A consciousness watching itself You plague me every single day". If you're a casual rock radio listener, you may not like it. The next song is much more approachable though. "Enjoy The Struggle" is a hardcore hit ideal for headbanging: the big rolling riff resembling Danzig backed by killer rhythm section dominates it. Following it, "Clowns Galore" is just pure genius with its hypnotizing drilling riff, a heavy punkish bass, snapping beats and perfectly placed harsh vocals. The next two tracks show the band from completely unknown side. Built on an addictive bass line, "Exiles" is much darker and more atmospheric than expected, while the ravy flow makes for another unique pattern in a wonderful title track chosen for the first single. Out of the 2nd half of the album two tracks really stand out. "I Told You I Was Ill" is a very well composed song with catchy chorus and heartfelt ending, whereas closer "Bad Excuse For Daylight" delights with unusual time signatures throughout. With a razor-sharp bass line transforming into a massive sludgy guitar riff and Cairns' superb uncaring delivery, this is arguably the best song on the album.

On the minus side, 10-minute-long "Magic Mountain" just builds and builds slowing the pace of the album. It is not a bad song per se and I'm sure it would be a valuable addition to some post-rock records, but here it seems out of place. Other than that, punky "Blacken the Page" is a pleasant song, but feels unremarkable being overshadowed by other far superior and less conventional tracks.

The outstanding musicianship of the whole trio is backed by a crystal clear production by Andy Gill. The sound is exceptional with bass and drum trackings being highlighted. The playing of endlessly inventive rhythm section paired with massive guitar riffs makes for a gripping listening experience alone. However, there is something more to this album. Andrew Cairns has improved a great deal as a writer. His lyrics for this record are inspired by philosophist Immanuel Kant, which basically means that they are more poetic, abstract and multi-dimensional than ever. This is especially visible in more experimental songs in which Cairns really excels creating memorable lyrics. The title of the record stems from a rather exquisite quote from Kant: "From the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made".

"Crooked Timber" is an amazing record filled with songs that define quality experimental rock music nowadays. It is darker, significantly more groove-oriented than their previous work, yet it superbly captures the energy of the band and the sense of excess permeating on their almost every album. I have a strong feeling that these guys haven't said their last word yet.

Standout tracks: Bad Excuse For Daylight, Clowns Galore, Enjoy the Struggle, Crooked Timber, The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself, Exiles.



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FNYANKEZ (4)
Thick punishing grooves highlight the latest Therapy? offering. Definite improvement over the bands ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
bodiesinflight57
July 27th 2009



869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Another great review...classic album imo

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2009



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the comment. It's near classic in my opinion. Especially, Magic Mountain prevented me from giving it a perfect rating. Thay should have replaced it with Don't Try, an awesome track from their Crooked Timber single.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Romulus
August 9th 2009



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is great. The great thing about this band is you could've listened to every song they've ever made and you still don't know what the next track is gonna sound like.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2010



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Only 25 ratings so far. I'm disappointed in you, Sputnik users.

Buccaneer
February 9th 2010



692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha yeah, Therapy? has a few fans on this site.

Shame really, they're an underappreciated band. And this album is probably my fave from 2009.

Romulus
March 7th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So close to upping this to a 4.5

Buccaneer
March 7th 2010



692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Do it.


This album deserves it.

Romulus
March 7th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, but I have Troublegum and Infernal Love at 4.5s and this is fantastic but it's just not at that level for me

Buccaneer
March 7th 2010



692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Simple, raise Troublegum to a 5, and Crooked Timber to a 4.5

Romulus
March 7th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Infernal Love > Troublegum > this for me, but we'll see.

Buccaneer
March 7th 2010



692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahh, now I see the dilemma.

I actually just got Infernal Love last week, it's awesome..but it still needs more listens for it to compare with Crooked Timber.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've heard their every album, but still don't know which is my favorite. It has to be a four-way tie between Suicide Pact - You First, Troublegum, High Anxiety and this one.

Romulus
March 7th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Infernal Love
Troublegum
Crooked Timber
Suicide Pact
High Anxiety
Never Apologize
Semi-Detached
Shameless
One Cure Fits All

There we have it for me. Haven't heard the pre-Troublegum stuff though.

Buccaneer
March 8th 2010



692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Troublegum
Crooked Timber
Semi-Detached
Infernal Love

This is all ive heard. I've been slow in checking out their discography..


Jethro42
January 16th 2011



12351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love me some Therapy. The first two tracks plus Exiles and the last one are my favs here.

LepreCon
January 16th 2011



3562 Comments


They played in the HMV I work in once. Everyone does at some point in their career, it seems

Jethro42
January 16th 2011



12351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, pretty good way to promote a band/album.

Romulus
January 16th 2011



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such a good album. it's aged so well

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. I also love Clowns Galore and the title track. Here's the vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtP4-dJak8Y

bodiesinflight57
January 16th 2011



869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

's a quality vid. had forgotten all about it.



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