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Therapy?: Troublegum

03/08/11  ||  Habakuk

If you ever want to experience a positive side-effect of grunge as opposed to shotgun killings, flannel shirts and well, grunge, you might want to listen to this album. Why is that? Well, because Kurt’s crew had given eighties rock a good beating and had left behind solidly grounded, adolescent males with self-doubts and shattered egos. While they still debated “girls, girls, girls”, those folks now found the tougher side of things more interesting to discuss than sweet little sisters and their big guns. Suddenly, those became a source of misery in young fella’s eyes! Maybe that’s why he no longer dressed up as them? I do not know. Anyway, Therapy?, falling exactly into the newly formed niche, might even have been sort of “hip” back in ’94. No idea though, what was hip for me at the time were matchbox cars. A total of five singles accompanying this album however speak a pretty clear language.

Musically, there had also been a strong rupture to the past, with choppy, blunt guitars and a lot more groove-focused drumming now replacing the classic rock schemes. Now this is far from a hardcore record, but the simplicity, edge and last but not least punch to its sound can easily be compared to the likes of Helmet or Snapcase. Combined with great, clean singing and the odd “classic” punk lead (not an Oxymoron!) we suddenly have a catchy as hell and yes, probably MTV-compatible album on our hands – except for the lyrics dripping with negativity (“All people are shit!” makes an appearance). But hey, I told you Cobain and friends had had an influence. Being from Northern Ireland probably helped, too. There are many more quotable lines, but for now suffice it to say that it comes across as a bunch of cynics trying to record Loser’s Life (From Weird Kid to Serial Killer) OST. And it works great, with rage-inducing, mechanical build-ups that culminate in spat-out, repeated choruses. God knows what they wanted to say with the cover, but I get a feeling it goes kind of well with the lyrical themes. I don’t have a better explanation right now. Just stick your head in a goddamn trash can and wait. Perhaps, what you will hear will sound a bit like this album, but probably worse.

At the end of the day, this is one angry slab of rock music somewhere between punk, grunge and hardcore, and whose underlying biting sarcasm and hatred are covered by quite the accessible facade. As such, it’s an album that goes equally well with locking yourself into your room for some teenage angst revival as it does with more social events. Consequently, it goes highly recommended for any of you guys who grow tired of the same old Satanic warmongering business and want to get down for some real disillusioned hatred once in a while. It’s fun!


  • Information
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: A&M Records
  • Website:
  • Band
  • Andrew James Cairns: vocals, guitars
  • Michael McKeegan: bass
  • Fyfe Ewing: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Knives
  • 02. Screamager
  • 03. Hellbelly
  • 04. Stop it you’re killing me
  • 05. Nowhere
  • 06. Die laughing
  • 07. Unbeliever
  • 08. Trigger inside
  • 09. Lunacy booth
  • 10. Isolation
  • 11. Turn
  • 12. Femtex
  • 13. Unrequited
  • 14. Brainsaw