It's been 2 years since their last album 'Never Apologise, Never Explain'
. Highly anticipated by their loyal fan base, this is very different from NANE
. No Therapy? album sounds alike and we had to wait and see which way Therapy? would go after NANE
, which was downtuned and very raw.
Turns out they went the opposite direction. In the words of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Andy Cairns: "We wanted to sound big"
. He claimed that this is what they wanted to try now, after the chaos that was NANE
Well, how does it sound? The album starts with Outro
and this doesn't make much sense until you've heard the closing song, Walk Through Darkness
. The first actual song is Sprung
, which was put on Myspace as a sampler for the new album. It starts with a pretty energetic riff, it's not bad, but the new guitar sound is the worst they've ever had. Which gets us to the main flaw of this album, the production. Hiring Pedro Ferreira was a big mistake, the man who has also worked with bands like the Darkness. It sounds very modern, like a regular rock band. A sound that is way too polished for a band like Therapy?.
The vocals sound awkward, there's too much reverb put on them, which only adds to the modern sound. Many people have also complained about the sound of the drums, and indeed, they are too thin and too quiet in the mix, which makes this whole album sound poppy. Now for those of you familiar with 2003 release High Anxiety
, that was poppy as well, but it was fun, because it had poppy melodies. This one, however, is trying to go back to the old days, but with a sound that doesn't fit it.
Fortunately, the songs aren't bad, Sprung
certainly isn't a bad song, and most of the songs on this album do grow on you. Deluded Son
is one of the strongest on it, with an excellent riff using harmonics. Into the light is a track that is slightly hypnotising and it is a pretty good song. Lose it All
isn't really a bad track, but there's no guitar in the verse and the reverbing vocals really get annoying after a while, the chorus is just the repeating of the title, which is something that happens quite a bit on this album. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes they overdo it by repeating it ad nauseum. Like Our White Noise
, alluding to the novel 'White Noise'
ends with and endless series of "Our white noise"
, which is just unnecessary. This wouldn't be a big deal either, if less tracks had this kind of, let's say, uninspired chorus.
An exception is Dopamine, Seratonin, adrenaline
. Though sounding modern, there's a lot of emotion in the song, unlike most of the songs, which sound a bit stale, a bit cold. It also has a memorable chorus, because Cairns isn't just 'saying' the title like on a lot of the other songs. It even has a spoken word sample, something Therapy? used to use frequently on the old albums. The other songs aren't bad, they all have interesting parts, mostly interesting riffs and Rain Hits Concrete
is a catchy pop song. Compared to older Therapy? songs they don't have much to offer, though.
Cairns' lyrics have been going downhill for a while now, basically since the 90s have gone. Although there are some literary references, including 'Slaughterhouse 5'
and 'White Noise'
, the wittiness of the old days has gone and they are mostly forgettable.
I've been very negative, so I want to end with something positive before I state my conclusion. The last song on this album is fantastic, even though Pedro Ferreira felt the need of putting the drums too low in the mix. (Get a new job, Pedro). Catchy riffs and a very strong melody, this is almost on the Troublegum
level with a good sounding mini solo and everything. Cleverly put as the last song, of course.
So what to think of this album? It's certainly not as bad as I make it out to be, but my points were valid. This album is the worst album Therapy? has released so far, even though it's pretty good. But when I go out to buy a Therapy? album, I don't want a pretty good album, I want brilliance in the form of a shiny metal disc. Hopefully these songs will sound better live and hopefully they'll find a better producer next time. I'm glad they're still making songs, because, all the negativity aside, it has some good songs, which made the album worth buying.
Walk through Darkness
Dopamine, Seratonin, Adrenaline