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Group Therapy

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Album Review

One of the few trance acts to sustain their anthemic sound over an entire album, British production outfit Above & Beyond have a lot to live up to following their 2006 debut, Tri-State, which is widely recognized as one of the genre's landmark albums of the last decade. Opening with a similar orchestral instrumental ("Filmic") as its predecessor, and with former Faithless vocalist Zoe Johnston and regular collaborator Richard Bedford back on board, sophomore album Group Therapy doesn't exactly make much effort to shy away from their previous winning formula. There are the twinkling Robert Miles-style dream-trance numbers ("Alchemy," "On My Way to Heaven"), the epic Balearic club bangers that prompted Madonna to use their remix of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" as the official single ("Sun & Moon," "Sweetest Heart"), and nods to the old skool on the acid house beats of "Giving It Out" and the early-'90s ambient electronica of "Sun in Your Eyes." But as lushly produced as these are, the Anjunabeats label founders only begin to justify their pioneering reputation when they attempt to push their floor-filling boundaries, as on the dirty electro basslines, stop/start rhythms, and Calvin Harris-ish stadium riffs of "Thing Called Love"; the lolloping synths and progressive trance vibes of "Black Room Boy," which also features a rare vocal from the trio's Tony McGuinness; and the euphoric tribal chanting of the midway instrumental, "Prelude" — while their chillout potential is fully realized on the gorgeous "Only a Few Things," an Air-inspired slice of downtempo mood music perfectly suited to Johnston's ethereal Judie Tzuke-esque vocals. Five years after their innovative first offering, Group Therapy feels like Above & Beyond are playing catch-up. But although there's little here to suggest the Queen of Pop might come calling for a second time, it's still an often hypnotic and uplifting listen that proves the trance genre is capable of transcending its super-club roots. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Great Album

This album definitely met up to my expectations. The whole album is a good listen. Thanks A&B!

Too much experimenting

I tried to like this album. I really did. However, after about 5 plays of every song, I have to say I am disappointed. This album pales in comparison to Tri-State, and even Mirage had better standout tracks than this. Don't get me wrong, this music is good if you want to just chill and not really think about anything, but it doesn't have the emotion of Above & Beyond's previous tracks.
My first problem would be the vocals. In general, I prefer instrumental to to vocal trance, but there are a bunch of great vocal tracks out there. In regard to Above & Beyond, Can't Sleep, Alone Tonight, and On a Good Day get the formula right - a section of vocals that breaks into an instrumental chorus. On this album, Sun & Moon and Thing Called Love are the only ones that get that right. The other tracks seem to be experimenting in a way where the sound centralizes on vocals, and the synths serve to bolster them. The only song I think this ever worked for is Underworld - Born Slippy (NUXX) and that was made 15 years ago. These songs just dont have that instumental melody that defines trance as a genre. I also just hate Zoe Johnston's voice and Richard Bedford gets a little annoying after a while.
Good songs would be Thing Called Love (but I bought that off Anjunabeats Vol. 8), Sun & Moon is a decent 4 star track - has that characteristic trance melody, but is far too simple. Filmic and Eternal are beautiful, and are amazing intro and outro tracks. The rest of the vocal tracks are terrible though, and Prelude and Sun In Your Eyes are too repetitive, even for progressive.
This is good lounge music with a couple really good tracks on it. I would not recommend it as a trance album however, which is the way it is marketed. Experimenting is good, but only on 1 or 2 tracks. Armin tried to do it as well on Mirage, and it was awful, but he had a bunch of amazing tracks that followed the tried-and-true trance formula. If experimenting and progressing the sound of trance is your thing, I would recommend listening to artists like Arty, or even some of Avicii's trance-y tracks like his remix of Drowning.


I love it.. Words can't describe any further than that.


Formed: 2000 in London, England

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the most successful trance acts of the 2000s and 2010s, Above & Beyond are a British trio known for their production and remix work, as well as their DJ performances and record label. Founded in 2000 in London, England, the trio is comprised of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki. Although they garnered early acclaim for a high-profile remix of a Madonna single, Above & Beyond experienced a steady ascent as producers and as a live act. They eventually sold out large venues in...
Full Bio
Group Therapy, Above & Beyond
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Dance, Music, Trance, Electronic
  • Released: Jun 06, 2011

Customer Ratings