I honestly can’t believe Therapy?‘s Troublegum album is twenty years old. I remember being addicted to it when it came out (I was at uni) and I put it on my phone about a year or so ago and it felt like I’d never stopped listening to it.
Despite a whole world of hooks and earworm riffs, it’s a devastatingly dark album. It’s angry. Hell, the earworms involved would burrow into your skull, hang a left and rip out your intestines if they could – it’s that disturbed. Musically, this makes it rather intense, almost a perverse pleasure. The power is in the fact that twenty years after its release, I could still remember every word, every riff, every beat when I put it back on my playlist.
It was re-released recently as a 20-year celebration, along with the band touring on it. They themselves have never really taken a break since they started off and will, in fact, be releasing their fourteenth album shortly.
Anyone who was a student in the early to mid 90’s will know at least one song, from the album – “Screamager”. With it’s ludicrously simple main riff (a handful of power chords) and accompanying melody (which any beginning guitar player could learn), it was ridiculously catchy. It was one of those songs you looked forward to at the student discos because it was rock enough to provide relief from the pop shit, but popular enough to actually get played. Hell, there was even a fast bit at the end you could headbang to. If there was a problem with it, it was that it only ran for 2 1/2 minutes.
The cheerful darkness of “Screamager” was enough to get over a million people to buy the full album where they discovered that the first single was really pretty cheerful compared to some of the other songs on there. Hell, “Knives” is as bleak as any piece of black metal. It beat Slipknot by seven with the concept that “All people are shit”. Any song which ends with the refrain that “I want to curl up inside you and die” really is seeking therapy.
I finally caught Therapy? live at Sonisphere a couple of years ago where they were playing the whole album. Annoyingly, the sound kept going and I gave up and went back to my tent after their third attempt at “Screamager”. I actually covered someone else’s radio show at uni while they went to see Therapy? In the main university concert hall beneath my feet in the same building. Regretted it ever since!
If Therapy? have a problem it’s that they perhaps peaked too early with this powerful release. It is definitely worth hunting out – perhaps grabbing one of the celebratory re-release copies from this year.