was the last Therapy?
album to sell reasonably well, although A&M didn't deem it necessary to release it in the US. (Consequently being their last record on that label). With the help of Troublegum
producer Chris Sheldon it is basically the last album with that typical 90s rock sound Therapy? had in ... well, in the 90s, sample happy, powerful music with plenty of melody.
Although probably being the album that comes closest to Troublegum
in terms of sound, it does sound brighter and it definitely seems like a happy camper compared to the festered what-used-to-be-a-heart piece of depression that was Infernal Love
Cairns had much to live up to, after creating two masterpieces in two years, back in '94 and '95. (Troublegum
and Infernal Love
, as stated before) and thus having 3 years to do so. Something that was even more difficult after losing founding member and registered rhythm powerhouse, Fyfe Ewing, who apparently could no longer handle the stress of being on tour constantly with a big rock band, which is what Therapy? was, back in the 90s. Graham Hopkins was called in to replace him and whilst they were changing line-up, the remaining two members decided to ask Martin McCarrick, previously providing strings on earlier albums, to join as a second guitarist and cellist.
As said, this is brighter than anything that Therapy? had put out before, sunnier even, though not avoiding the usual melancholic topics (which is, after all, the best tone for a poem, according to the great Poe). The different and also more varied approach is immediately apparent on the opener, Church of Noise
, which is a fairly silly feel-good song. The song is not short of a sample, as Therapy? was once quite keen on using witty samples, but is now mostly too poor to do so. "It takes more than intellect to be a musician, put your soul into it, okay?"
is the one for this song and "Welcome to the church of NOISE"
makes up the rather amusing chorus. Ending with a carnival-like accordion (or is it organ? feel free to correct me here) repeating the song's main melody, an upbeat tone is set, sometimes interrupted by another feel, for example by the haunting verses of the aptly titled paranoia song Tightrope Walker
, which manages to turn paranoid lyrics into a singalong chorus.
Don't wanna look behind me
Don't wanna look beneath me
Every movement, every vibration
The addition of another guitarist has given Therapy? a slightly different approach to riffing, as there are more leads to be found and even some harmonised guitar sections, as showcased on the previously named song, as well as on the wonderfully catchy summer morning song Heaven's Gates
, which also makes good used of harmonised vocals in the verse. And everyone likes songs about mornings, right?
Oh shit, here comes morning
Another ugly bang that I dreaded coming
Go back to sleep, let the curtains protect me
Keep them closed so the light won't get me
Stuck inside, afraid of big spaces
Too much noise and too many faces
All mail left unanswered
Kicking down my door like a final reminder
OK, but I'm not ready
I'll get up and go 'cos I feel so guilty
Is anybody there? The door's still ringing
It's not for me, just another religion
Right. Lonely Cryin' only
is a special one, it's a half-parody, half-honouring of those sweet pop songs bearing their cheesy lyrics, which are also found here. Not lacking are the silly backing vocals and likewise video. Pure pop and as catchy as a sticky case of the flu. Not to forget, it is introduced by what has to be the best answer machine message ever. "Leave a message, or leave me alone".
And if you're lonely (You're lonely), and you're cryin' all the time (You're cryin')
Heaven help me (Heaven help me), 'cos your heart's as dead as mine
We all go slowly (Go slowly) and time is catching up (Time is catching up)
If you would only (Only) give me two more minutes of your twisted love
Not every song is upbeat, obviously, you'll find the melancholy and the angry-at the-world-melody hitting you in the face from time to time. Black Eye, Purple Sky
is an excellent song having that darker sound. Born too soon
is similar, just not as good. The high-point in this dark category, and at that the whole album, and actually, one of the best songs they have ever made is Straight Life
. Woe to those ignorant of the existence of this song. Slowly building, slightly spastic as if predicting the outburst of anger and sheer brilliance that is to follow, set to explode with Cairns screaming 'FUCKER!'
. Heaviest, most powerful song on the album, with an obvious debt to metal music, containing imagery that portrays the anger in a way that gets to me every time.
My tongue is twisted from talking
My feet are blistered from walking alone
My head is bursting with thoughts
And every bruise feels so familiar
My arms are fed up reaching
My voice is through with breaking
Myself, I'm sick of reason
Every bruise feels so familiar
So don't tell me everything's alright
And don't include me in your straight life
The song is topped off with an excellent solo, plenty of which can be found throughout the album, notably on Straight Life
, Heaven's Gate
and Tightrope Walker
are songs that contain some elements that are peculiar for Therapy? The former having slow verses and including piano and the latter being a mix of electronica and rock, only having one lyric line. Variation cannot be frowned upon, though.
is not as tightly packed as say Troublegum and it takes quite a while before you can see it as a full album instead of a compilation, delayed even more by the peculiar roads Therapy? take on this album, like the repetitive Tramline
and Stay Happy
, in which the lead guitar is almost as surreal as the lyrics.
Kids waving, shake babies
Smile candy through splinters
Squeezed into ill fitting stitches
And The Boy's Asleep
, which is a goodbye message in the form of a song, but great in its own right.
Thanks for coming, mind your step on the way home
The roads are busy, tonight just pick the ones you know
Thanks for coming, stick to all the places you've been
Thanks for coming again
But when you finally do grasp the album, it is well worth the effort and for me it ranks third in Therapy?'s
discography. When I starting writing this, I planned to give it 4.5, but in hindsight, I can't help but give it a perfect rating, I'm truly sorry.
To conclude I cannot withhold this most appropriate line from Don't Expect Roses.
If you're looking for trouble, you can find me on the Internet, motherfucker