Therapy? - Crooked Timber

Crooked Timber LP

Therapy do not sound like a band that have been releasing albums for eighteen years. Let me expand on that… Imagine a band that have been around for ages and who are about to release album number twelve (not including ‘So Much For The Ten Year Plan’). Most of the connotations of this kind of longevity are negative.

For Therapy, though, ‘Crooked Timber’ is a creative epiphany – using many of the signature elements that have made their sound so unique over the years and adding a burst of rhythmic experimentation that makes this record completely contemporary and relevant.

The record starts with some of the heavier songs in which the instruments combine to create a strong rhythmic force. ‘The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself’ is a dark and brooding masterpiece, swiftly followed by the jarring beauty of ‘Enjoy The Struggle’, a song reminiscent of Troublegum, but with immense walls of tone and swathes of rhythm.

‘Clowns Galore’ has an introduction like chaos in a jar, drumming that harks back to ‘Teethgrinder’ and the kind of bass line that can’t be argued with, while ‘Exiles’ sounds, to put it simply, important. A strange word to use to describe a song, but the immense bass and eerie guitars make it sound like a song you need to listen to.

The awesome title track, ‘Crooked Timber’, starts off with ghostly guitar harmonics, which set the tone for the song. The chorus is concise and provides the texture to contrast with the driving focus of the rest of the song.

Six songs in and the quality continues with ‘I Told You I Was Ill’, which is a plaintive melody combined with huge open guitar chords and scatter-gun drumming.

If this was a normal album, things would be dropping off by now, but the run-in is as stunning as the first half of the record with the melodic ‘Somnambulist’, the dark and frantic ‘Blacken The Page’, and the most surprising song on the whole record, ‘Magic Mountain’, which is a shimmering instrumental offering. ‘Bad Excuse For Daylight’ ends the record with gnarly guitars and plenty of unhinged rhythms and sounds.

Expect to read a lot of reviews that focus on a “return to form”. I do believe though that this is much more than that for Therapy. They’ve got ten monumental tracks on this record and it is one of those playlists that works as presented. It’s not just a couple of singles and some left over ideas; it’s a proper conceptual album full of meaning and you can listen to it from start to finish a hundred times over.

I’ve been asked a thousand times what it would take for me to give a record ten out of ten and my answer has always been “it would have to be as good as Therapy’s Infernal Love album”. What I never expected was that Therapy would be the band to produce it.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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