Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

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Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by Unabletothinkofname on Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:43 pm

UNABLETOTHINKOFNAME REVIEWS
THERAPY?
TROUBLEGUM


Therapy? are one of British rock's most uncompromising and relentless bands, having released 12 albums over their lengthy and varied 20-year career. Though they've long been an underground institution, they had a brief flash of mainstream acceptance and mass critical acclaim with their 1994 classic album Troublegum.


Therapy? in 1994, L-R: Fyfe Ewing, Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan

Formed in 1989 in Northern Ireland as a fiery noise rock band in the vein of Big Black and Tar, their early releases like debut mini-album Nurse and the EP Pleasure Death featured abstract lyrics, biting atonal guitar and clattering percussion. Their 1993 EP Hats Off To The Insane followed a similar if more polished vein, with the exception of lead single Screamager, described by guitarist/vocalist Andy Cairns as a tribute to classic Ulster rock bands like The Undertones, featuring traces of the ripping guitars and aggressive noise of their early work but possessed of a massive hook-filled chorus.

The rest of Troublegum itself is much like that song, with a few exceptions, like furious opener Knives' ranting threats of "I'm gonna get drunk, come home and fuck you up!" and hysterical caterwauling backed by thundering hardcore punk-esque backing. From there it's straight into the album's most played track and Therapy?'s most famous, Screamager, a 2 and a half minute masterpiece in the not-so-simple art of writing a simple and incredibly catchy rock song.


Not that all of Troublegum is accessible, far from it: though each song features a few easy-to-roar lines minimum, it's still a gnarly and difficult album, with tracks like Hellbelly and a fantastic cover of Joy Division's Isolation featuring little of the accessible edge of the album's more prevalent tracks. Despite the album's hook-stuffed exterior, a deep melancholy runs through it all, from Stop It You're Killing Me's dismal cries of "The world is fucked, and so am I" to agonized closer Brainsaw's howls of "I'm in Hell and I'm alone!"

Despite the bleakness, there's no denying it's easy to revel in the upbeat melodies of Nowhere and the doped-up confused haze of Die Laughing, as well as the giddy sense of slightly sinister mischief that runs through the pounding riffing of Trigger Inside "There goes a girl with perfect teeth, I bet she won't be smiling at me/I know how Jeffrey Dahmer feels (lonely, lonely)" and the none-too-subtle allusions to sexual repressions on Femtex (with "Masturbation saved my life!") being among the finest opening lines in rock history). Upon its release, Troublegum was met with monumental critical acclaim, nabbing album of the year spots in a number of major rock mags, and nabbing the band the adoration of the metal crowd (at least until their next album, but that's another story), with the band being hand-picked by Metallica to join the lineup of the 1994 Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington Park in England.


"Holding this brain will make me look arty, right?"

The TL;DR

Often the easiest part of a review is picking tracks to recommend: with Troublegum, it's the hardest. Each song is brilliantly unique and varied while retaining the thumping heavy alt-rock sound that, if only for a short while, Therapy? helped define. In a time when British metal and rock was on its knees compared to the American scene (with Machine Head's Burn My Eyes, Pantera's Far Beyond Driven and Green Day's Dookie all released in the same year), Troublegum couldn't have been more essential in injecting life into a tired scene.

Score: 8.5/10

Recommended Tracks:




For fans of: Helmet, The Wildhearts.

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Unabletothinkofname
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Re: Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by Furburt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:03 pm

British rock? BRITISH ROCK?!

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Re: Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by Unabletothinkofname on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:06 pm

You're fucking terrible at constructive criticism, you know that?

Just mentally replace it with "Irish" and read it again.

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Re: Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by Furburt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:08 pm

Good review though.

I would go far as to say it were right good.

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Re: Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by Furburt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:09 pm

Especially the length. Reviews are made and broken on their length.

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Re: Unabletothinkofname Reviews: Therapy?: Troublegum

Post by MilkyFresh on Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:34 am

Great review dude, as I said on MSN. Listened to the tracks this time, not for me, but great review nonetheless.

Gaybian's right, perfect length methinks. Not too much of an undertaking, but still substantial.

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