Wednesday 3 October 2018

Album Review: THERAPY? - Cleave

Therapy? - Cleave

01. Wreck It Like Beckett
02. Kakistocracy
03. Callow
04. Expelled
05. Success? Success Is Survival
06. Save Me From The Ordinary
07. Crutch
08. I Stand Alone
09. Dumbdown
10. No Sunshine

I remember hearing Therapy? for the first time when I was a spotty teenager. Someone at school played me the song Screamager, and I loved it instantly. I remember running down to Our Price (that was a chain of record shops for all of you kids out there) and buying their EP 'Hats Off To The Insane'. 

Soon afterwards, Troublegum came out, which is still one of my favourite albums of all time. I've bought every album since, and have seen them countless times over the years. Although they never again reached the commercial heights that they did with Troublegum in the mid-90s, Therapy? have always released consistently good albums. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that Cleave would be another fantastic release from this amazing band, and they've proved me right once again.

Cleave has a sound that harks back to Therapy?'s early days, but with a modern twist and an updated production sound. No doubt that's because they used legendary producer Chris Sheldon who produced Troublegum, as well as a number of classics from other artists.

With just ten songs and clocking in at just over 30 minutes, there is no fat to be trimmed at all.

"It's OK not to be OK", which is from the chorus of Kakistocracy, is one of the main themes of this album as a whole. It's a dark, bitter commentary on the state of the world and living in it. Therapy? have always been experts in turning relatable misery into an art form. It gives their unique brand of Garage Punk an introverted Goth vibe, which appeals to me greatly. Their music has always broken down barriers, fitting in nicely with various genres, whether Metal, Punk, Goth, Grunge or whatever, uniting everyone with intelligent lyrics that tap into the listeners' insecurities, sadness, angst, and often, depression.

In fact, clinical depression is a topic that Therapy? have often covered, and singer/guitarist Andy Cairns' struggles with it have been publicly documented in the past. It's the subject matter for the song Callow, which is the best single Therapy? have released for many years.

Conflict and division are also both running themes throughout this record, most notably on the crushingly heavy I Stand Alone and on the defiant social commentary of Success? Success Is Survival.

Cleave is a caustic, biting, and extremely relevant album for 2018. Therapy? continue to be one of the UK's most criminally underrated bands, and have once again delivered an album that does their untarnished legacy justice.


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