An excellent Deluxe Edition package of a stone cold Punk Metal classic!!,
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This review is from: Infernal Love (Audio CD)
How do you top a career-defining, faultless album as classic as 'Troublegum?'...Well, you don't REALLY. But you do what Therapy? did with this follow-up and do an album as good as possible, but in a totally different sound and in an even more against the grain vein. Gone (for the most part) are the heavily-distorted punk/thrash infused riffs, and the catchy, chart-bothering singles that (despite its mostly dark subject matter) still managed to sound joyful or even uplifting, in is this slow burning, DJ-mixed, doomy, mournful, angst-ridden gem.
The change in itself deserves plaudits, as Therapy? could easily have stuck to 'Troublegum's' winning formula and repeated the same album and fully capitalised on their chart success as so many other bands are tempted to do. I guess the anti-establishment, punk spirit took a hold of Andy Cairns and company and they decided that fame isn't really for them and stuck to their roots. Following a brief flirtation in the mainstream limelight on their previous outing, this fantastic album somehow disappeared without a trace, and Therapy? were back where they were on 'Nurse' - mostly unappreciated but extremely talented underground heroes.
This album is definitely a grower but is much more immediate than I thought it was the first time I heard it (I hastily sold this album years ago straight after listening to 'Troublegum' and thought it was crap by comparison...yes, I know, what a fool I was!!) I decided to revisit it following listening to some of the tracks on YouTube and was surprised how good they were.
The album itself is a lot slower, less catchy and upbeat than 'Troublegum' apart from the superb trio of 'Epilepsy,' 'Stories' and 'Loose.' The majority are slow, melodic numbers that somehow sound epic despite their relatively short lengths (no song is longer than 6 minutes if you minus the abstract DJ 'skits'). The majority of the tracks are 3/4/5 minutes and are mid tempo and very eerie and melodic as opposed to the straight-up, balls-out rock and riffs aplomb we'd normally associate with the band. However, it works very well and tracks such as 'Misery,' 'Jude the Obscene,' and 'Me Vs. You' demonstrate this new Therapy? sound very well and are excellent songs that might need a few listens to fully appreciate. 'Bad Mother' sits somewhere in between these two rough groups of songs and has both a slow build up before it changes pace quickly when it reaches the chorus and interlude, one of the album's highlights. 'Bowels Of Love' feels a little like 'half time' as it’s a dreamy acoustic ballad that is a break from the intense distortion and dread of the previous tracks. The strings cover of Husker Du's 'Diane' is another venture away from the traditional Therapy? sound, and, despite being a barely recognizable version of that song but maintaining its bleak and tragic lyrics is still eerily catchy and will have you singing along in no time. '30 Seconds' brings the album to a bit of a stuttered and loosely-tied end and is the weakest track on the album. There's only so many times you can listen to the overly repeated outro line of 'There is a light at the end of the tunnel' before thinking 'OK, that's enough - I get it!!' The fat is trimmed off on the bonus disc's acoustic version however and is a massive improvement in my opinion.
The Deluxe extra CD really is excellent, and is almost worth the full price on its own. It features a mix of acoustic and live versions of some of the best songs off 'Troublegum' as well as 'Infernal Love' itself. On top of that are two rare songs ('Our Love Must Die' and 'Nice Guys') acoustic versions of older or rare songs 'Opal Mantra' and 'Disgacelands,' one good remix of 'Innocent X' and one totally crap remix, but that's forgivable. The acoustic version of '30 Seconds' definitely improves on the original, and the acoustic take of 'Screamager' is classy as are the others, there isn't a bad track on the disc barring the one, afore-mentioned remix. Most Deluxe CD's extras are quite frankly filler or poor add-on's that don't really do anything to the album it is supposed to enhance e.g. poor left out songs, inferior demo recordings, but this is probably the best Deluxe Edition CD I have ever come across and definitely worth buying, a must for Therapy? fans and a great addition to any rock/punk/metal/good music fan's CD collection.