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Crooked Timber

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Album Review

There was a point when Therapy? were one of the biggest "buzz bands" in Europe — thanks in part to seemingly nonstop coverage in such publications as Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. But the buzz eventually dissipated, as Therapy? in the modern age don't necessarily storm the charts with each new release, but still retain a sizable following. With Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill on board as producer, Therapy? unveiled their tenth studio album overall, 2009's Crooked Timber, which leans more toward the punk/alternative side of things rather than riff-happy metal (and on "I Told You I Was Ill," sounds comparable to Gill's band). In fact, think vintage Helmet and you're not far off from such album highlights as "Enjoy the Struggle" and "Bad Excuse for Daylight." And on the title track, it sounds as if Therapy? have managed to channel both Sonic Youth and Joy Division into a single track. Ten albums down the line and Therapy? still play like they mean it, as evidenced by the arrival of Crooked Timber.

Customer Reviews

Another Great Chapter...

I've been a big fan ever since I spun "Dancin' With Mason" in my record store back in '92 (interviewed Andy Cairns back in '94 when "Troublegum" was coming out, put them onto a tribute to The Misfits I created and released at Caroline in '96). Over the 18 years Therapy? has been releasing albums together, they've never ever released the same album twice – an amazing feat to say the least. Sure, that approach may have cost them their chart status but it's brought forth some amazing material. With Gang of Four's Andy Gill taking the production reigns over "Crooked Timber," the band has largely chosen rhythm over melody, but not entirely. Oddly enough, the most melodic track here is the album's :10 minute instrumental, "Magic Mountain," while tracks like "The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself" open the album in full rhythmic lock-down mode. The record picks up the pace drastically with "Clowns Galore" and then dives into the album's most immediate of tracks, "Exiles" and "Crooked Timber." Those two songs alone are worth the price of admission, mind you. They're that good. Rhythm rules the roost on the second side of the... er, second half of the album – sans "Magic Mountain," of course. Highlights on the back half include, but are not limited to "Blacken the Page" and "Bad Excuse for Daylight," both of which find themselves dialed into a pocket of rhythm that's both hypnotizing and electrifying. Overall, "Crooked Timber" offers up a unique experience for the listener. An experience that's riddled with fantastic rhythm, timing and playing – none of which come at the expense of the songs themselves. Sure, it's not their most accessible record – in fact it's one of their least so, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or important.

Depends what you like about Therapy?

If you're one of the fans of Therapy who like to bash your head against concrete while listening to a wall of sound (much of their last few albums), you'll like the latest effort from this Irish band. If, however, you're one of the fans who believes they are at their best when mixing intense angst with a penchant for catchy melodies and clever songwriting (Troublegum and all of their singles), this is most certainly not the release for you. The joy of Therapy? has always been this odd feeling that their songs could easily be played as acoustic versions and still have life to them. Crooked Timber, however, seems to be just another hard rock album, with, of course, the exception of the well-written single of the same name. Big fans will enjoy this. Everyone else will probably wait to see what comes next, at least knowing that there's always the hope for something exciting from Therapy? the next time around. It's just a shame that this one isn't very exciting or groundbreaking.

Come To America!!!

Therapy? keeps kickin a*s with each album! Everyone wants to compare every album after to Troublegum (their finest) but this one is amazing. Great rhythm throughout... Guitar, Bass, and Drums! It's like a big, Crooked Timber smash to your brain! Doink! Thud! Whack!


Formed: 1989 in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Northern Ireland’s Therapy? might have been amongst the vast number of bands who benefited from the rise of Nirvana and grunge in the early '90s, but they proved their worth by outlasting that trend and any number of sub-strains that followed throughout the subsequent two decades. They might have frustrated the unit shifters who banked on them to follow the pack and hit the charts, but they never felt the need to cash in. By constantly expanding upon a frame of influential references that included...
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Crooked Timber, Therapy?
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