Release Date: Feb 6, 2012
Record label: Blast Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal
Therapy?‘s fleeting taste of mainstream success came in the early to mid-‘90s, when Nirvana’s rising tide lifted all sorts of bands who otherwise wouldn’t ever have had a chance of showing up on the radio. They’ve always been a band that toes the line between metal and punk, but singer/guitarist/songwriter Andrew Cairns also has an ear for melody. So singles like “Screamager” and “Nowhere” were catchy enough to earn the band airplay in the heyday of grunge and alternative music.
Determined to hold on to their status as Northern Ireland's most raucous rock act, Therapy?'s 13th studio album, A Brief Crack of Light, shows that 23 years into their career, they can still pack a hefty punch. Produced by Adam Sinclair (New York Dolls, the Unthanks) and frontman Andy Cairns, the follow-up to 2009's Crooked Timber may be named after an existential quote from Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov and packed with reflections on "the absurdity of human life," but it's hard to focus on their poetic intentions when they're set against such deafening layers of noise. There are times when they threaten to reach the heights of their mid-'90s heyday, such as the metallic grooves and rousing chorus of "Living in the Shadow of a Terrible Thing," arguably their greatest lead single since "Stories" and the buzzing riffs and propulsive beats of "Stark Raving Sane," whose venomous lyrics suggest the bandmembers are anything but.
[a]Therapy?[/a] have been an active concern since 1989, ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’ remarkably taking them to 13 albums, but even most ageing alt.metal troopers would struggle to identify any of their songs from the last decade and a half. The Ulster three-piece, who were a big deal as far back as the early ’90s, are sage enough to know this, and are now content to write records with no concern for the rock club dancefloor.Their stoicism and open ears are admirable, so it’s a great shame that this album’s component parts – vinegary noise-rock, cinematic grandeur and a game approximation of Battles entitled ‘Marlow’ – don’t raise the whole above ‘nice to know they’re still around’ status.[i]Noel Gardner[/i] .