The permanence of Therapy? is impossible to overlook. With an impressive career that spans more than three decades, the group’s body of work stands out, as the anthemic noise rockers continue to focus on the prime objective, the urge to release musical goods, at regular intervals.
While the cultural and social climate has been changing, the band have been nurturing the relationship with their global fanbase, enjoying a reputation as authentic musicians.
With an ear for commercially astute songwriting, the sixteenth studio album from the Northern Irish trio is a self-assured return to the basics of the band’s creative values, while the record also manages to look to the future with some zest.
The Co. Antrim bred act makes use of light experimentation, it’s an exploration of new ideas and styles, with a production that demonstrates renewed finesse. On top of that is a dedication to giving fans what they like to hear, and the latest project is a fulfilling blend of the aforementioned components.
Their recognisable heavy foundation is retained, as is the popular melodic base, and the new record has a lightness that feels addictive. Opener ‘They Shoot the Terrible Master’ is an enticing, all guns blazing instant that sets the scene for the chorus pleasing ‘Woe’, a song that seems a close match to ‘Joy’. The rhythmic complexity of ‘Bewildered Herd’ is absorbing, its energy seems as if linked to the song ‘To Disappear’. The theme of collected traumas is examined on ‘Wounded Animals’.
Unexpectedly, the poetic strength of Cairns’ lyrics shines through a track like ‘Mongrel’: “With words / We try to heal / But from our mouths / They fall unheard / We breathe / In spite of it all / Another indignity / On we crawl”. Elsewhere, the Nirvana-like vibe of ‘Poundland Of Hope and Glory’ subtly shifts things, in its tackling of late-stage capitalism, as the infectious DNA of the song goes on to surprise with its critical social commentary.
Signifying the next stage in Therapy?’s long, hugely rewarding journey, ‘Hard Cold Fire’ represents a much wanted return from the band that seem more unstoppable than ever, and quite rightly so.
Words: Susan Hansen