So far this year in Sunday Old School, we’ve covered bands from a variety of places including Switzerland, Australia, Norway and Japan, as well as the expected English and American groups, but we have yet to look at a band from the Emerald Isle. This week we’ll be rectifying this by taking a gander at the Northern Irish alternative metal/rock band, Therapy? The seeds of the band were sewn in 1989 when guitarist Andy Cairns spotted drummer Fyfe Ewing performing in a punk rock band at a local charity gig. The two began talking after the show and soon recorded a demo tape, with Cairns also handling the bass duties, having borrowed the instrument from Michael McKeegan, a classmate of Ewing’s who was officially recruited into the band when they decided to begin performing live. After releasing their first single, “Meat Abstract” in July of 1990, Therapy? soon attracted the attention of legendary British disc jockey, John Peel and took slots supporting a variety of bands, including Madchester outfit Inspiral Carpets and Ian Mackeye’s post-Minor Threat band, Fugazi amongst others. After these accomplishments, they signed with independent record label, Wiiija, through which they released their first two albums, “Babyteeth” and “Pleasure Death.”
The two albums were enough to secure the group a new record deal with major label, AM and soon afterwards, the band found their first taste of commercial success when they released, “Nurse” in November 1992, which was able to reach the Top 40 in the U.K. Album Charts, thanks largely to the single, “Teethgrinder,” which entered the Top 40 in the Singles Charts. They then scored a string of successful EPs including, “Shortsharpshock,” which featured the song, “Screamager,” perhaps the best known Therapy? song and one which incorporated the feelings of teenage emotions as brilliantly as their fellow Northern Irishmen, The Undertones had done fifteen years prior with, “Teenage Kicks,” albeit in a much darker fashion. Following two more successful EPs in “Face The Strange” and “Opal Mantra,” the group released, “Troublegum,” their biggest album to date, in February 1994. “Troublegum” featured no less than six singles including the Joy Division cover, “Isolation,” which had two different videos made to promote it. The popularity of the record led the band to a Kerrang! Award and a Mercury Prize nomination.
“Infernal Love,” the next album from the band, didn’t receive anywhere near as much praise from critics as, “Troublegum,” but nevertheless earned the group a second consecutive appearance at the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival and two charting singles in, “Stories” and “Loose,” in addition the single, “Diane,” which entered the Top 10 in fifteen European countries. Despite these accolades, Ewing decided to leave the band, citing the pressures of touring, and was replaced by My Little Funhouse drummer Graham Hopkins. After a six month break, Therapy? reconvened to begin work on their next album, which would eventually be released as, “Semi-Detached” in March 1998, which would turn out to be their last release through AM after the label did little to promote the record. They soon signed with Ark21, through which they released the much more aggressive album, “Suicide Pact – You First” in 1999, followed by the more accessible, “Shameless” in 2001. Hopkins left the band afterwards, being unsatisfied with their musical direction and was replaced initially by former 3 Colours Red drummer, Keith Baxter and then permanently by former The Beyond drummer, Neil Cooper.
With this new lineup, the band released, “High Anxiety” in 2003, before reverting to a three piece outfit for the first time since 1995 and releasing, “Never Apologise, Never Explain” in 2004, which received positive feedback and scored a minor hit single in the United Kingdom with, “Rock You Monkeys.” They then found themselves back in the British album charts when they released, “One Cure Fits All” in 2006, though this record was unreleased in the United States. Heavy touring was next for the group, performing in many countries they hadn’t previously played such as Romania and Croatia amongst others. “Crooked Timber,” the band’s twelth studio album, was released in 2009 and just about scraped a charting position in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 197. The record once again led the band to touring highlights, such as returning to the Download festival, supporting New Model Army and making their debut at Ireland’s, Oxegen Festival. Since then, the band has been hard at work on their thirteenth studio record, entitled, “A Brief Crack Of Light,” which is expected to be released in February 2012.
Therapy? – “Teethgrinder”
Therapy? – “Trigger Inside”
Therapy? – “Screamager”
Therapy? – “Rise Up”
Therapy? – “Rock You Monkeys”
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.