REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Therapy? Reissue classic one-two punch to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of release

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Famed and much loved Northern Irish rockers reissue their classic  records Troublegum ('94) and Infernal Love ('95), with new surprises and gems from the vault for a whole new generation to fall in love with.


Therapy? - Troublegum / Infernal Love (reissues) - Universal Records (out now)

THERAPY? Have always been one of those bands that draws together my friends in weird and awesome ways. The songs are classics, huge slabs of anthemic alternative rock sing-a-long classics. SCREAMAGER and KNIVES are two songs that you are instantly aware of and “in” with before the first bar of music is finished. They are truly brilliant and transcend genre and time and remain songs that will forever be loved despite of age or trend. I have had a soft spot for Therapy? Since I first heard SCREAMAGER and heard that first line of “With a face like this I won’t break any hearts…” It was a perfect punch to the gut that made me fall for the band in big ways. They are incapable of writing a bad song, and their mastery of the soft-heavy dynamic is second to none. The band have remained a foundation stone of the alt-rock scene in the UK since their inception in the early 90’s and they are just getting better and braver with each release. Yes, the material can test you and push the love for the band in new and wild directions, but, if like me you embrace it and run with it – there is a bounty of wonderful and weird music out there to suit every need and fancy. Hell,
A BRIEF CRACK OF LIGHT did for me in the noughties what
INFERNAL LOVE did to me in the 90’s and set fires in my belly that rage aflame and angry still to this day. THERAPY? Simply cannot do any wrong. So, to have the re-issued classic one-two punch of TG and IL land on my lap for review is kind of like opening the door to a rainbow on my doorstep and a shiny pot of Gold. It’s a wonderful and brilliant treasure I am very much now coveting and poring over and enjoying with all my mind, body and soul. TROUBLEGUM is a touch-paper for a lot of bands to have burst from the late 80’s new romantic scene jaded and lost, staggering through the early 90’s a little scared and wounded from the 80’s being a massive lie and the big hair and make up and oversized t-shirts suddenly falling away to Plaid and stonewash denim and converse and unkempt, unwashed lank long hair, and a nihilistic feeling of doom permeating every single walk and part of life. THERAPY? Perfectly captured the sense of dejected ruin it was to be a teenager and a young adult swimming against the tide in a changing world, where government and life and trend was falling apart around everyone’s ears – they provided a musical backdrop five years into the new decade that perfectly encapsulates the doom laden mood of being all at sea with no paddles or flare-guns. KNIVES opens us up into a world where black is the colour of the flag and clothing and mood, and we are never going to have a map to escape unless we make it ourselves. This continues apace with
TRIGGER INSIDE further pushing the nihilism and leading us screaming into the realization that music means something in this decade and we are going to have to fight and claw and scream to survive. This reissue has three discs, including some choice alternative takes, instrumental cuts and also some remixes – that reinvent Therapy? As Apollo 440 dance monsters with ambient and trippy acid-core spins. Some of the music is wonderful to the point you feel your insides turning to marshmallow, and then just as soon bristling and snapping when the doom returns as oppressive and angry as ever. Light and dark cascade and dance wonderful fandango and waltzes into walls and oceans, drowning and battering you in equal measure. It’s quite fantastic.


Then there is INFERNAL LOVE. Where TG is a moody speedball of cocaine and amphetamine and vodka shots, Infernal Love is a more measured and subtle beast. It lacks none of the terror and adrenaline that Therapy? Are famed for – but it takes its time to percolate and boil, and is a slow burn pipebomb, waiting for choice moments to explode and rip apart the flesh of your mind and ears. It’s a mature offering from a band who are trying to sow seeds for future releases and this is truly where the Therapy? Sound was created and molded and where the template for everything that has followed, be it
CROOKED TIMBER et al have followed. Songs like
EPILEPSY set the scene,
JUDE THE OBSCENE take it to another level and then by
30 SECONDS you are a whipped, panting mess, drained and bemused and overtly emotional. DIANE is as close to a Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds murder ballad as you can get before you practically are the mulleted antipodean himself, it’s an absolute masterpiece and haunting beyond words. THERAPY? are not only an incredibly important band, they are a culturally significant one as well. Where other bands from Northern Ireland were screaming at the world about The Troubles and the IRA and the state of Northern Ireland, Therapy? Instead took a different tack and became the
Anti-U2. Their music is fun, filled with ragged charm and danger, but is seldom preachy; almost exclusive missing any pomposity and has an undercurrent of pish-taking of the bands from their home country who are being overly serious with the social side of music and forgetting that you, also, can have fun… Surely that’s what music is for? Right? The second disc is full of Acoustic versions of songs from TROUBLEGUM and INFERNAL LOVE, as well as lives versions from significant gigs, and a few alternative takes of classics. The Quality is intense, the level of details brilliant and the acoustic songs are often beautiful and haunting in equal measure, turning some stonking rock songs into morose and lamenting ballads, or broken music-box versions. Incredible really considering how good the originals are they actually make some more amazing with lack of amplifiers. If you are a fan then this is indispensable stuff, you simply have to have this in your collection. It’s perfect in every detail and way. I was blown away and it made me re-discover the band in stunning ways. They have outdone themselves with these re-issues and will make a lot of new fans. For me, an old fan, it’s just nice to see they still have it in them and the life is still there, the blood still pumping and that they are still pushing boundaries. Long may it continue.
Utterly perfect. 10/10