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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 August 2016
I came across A&B by happy accident in 2014 on Mixcloud and I have been a devotee to their weekly Group Therapy internet radio show ever since.
I already had Tri State and We Are All We Need on Cd, so I wanted this middle album to complete the set, and I have to say it is the best of the three. I didn't think it could beat WAAWN but it does. Awesome.
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on 30 June 2014
I'm getting on. Nearly fifty. Fan of Husker Du et al first time round. This is better than Zen Arcade but echos the ambitions of thet early punk prog concept album. Why? Well it has better songs, better produced and better playing. Great album with standout tracks (Other Shoe, Life in Paper, Ship of Fools, Recursive Girl) so just go out and buy it.
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on 20 June 2017
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on 17 August 2011
You know when you listen to a power ballad and you can't help but clench your fist and look up at the sky? Mix that with the rush of anger and excitement you get from listening to a fast-paced hardcore punk track and voila! You have David Comes To Life!

It's incredibly refreshing to see a punk rock/hardcore band who have so much energy (both on the record and live) actually have the balls to create an epic tale, a concept album that works and flows so damn well!
The album is long and, for an album that's part of such a heavy genre, it is incredibly dynamic and ambitious.

It's hard to explain exactly what it is that keeps you entranced by this record. The lyrics tell a very clear, yet very descriptive story of love, pain and life, all the while refusing to cease the onslaught of heavy drum beats and dynamic, catchy riffs.
The use of female vocals on certain tracks works really well to add to the flow and the dynamics of each track.
This is one of those albums that makes you think. It gives you the feeling of reading an enthralling novel with old-school punk rock playing in the background. It's an addictive album that you'll want to listen to again and again, partly because you'll want to understand David and the story each track tells and partly because it's a fantastic album that you can't help but scream along to!

Get this album, it is easily one of 2011's finest!
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on 6 July 2011
Having grown up on a diet of Husker Du, The Replacements, Black Flag, Minor Threat and Minutemen (thanks to elder siblings with fine taste), I'd grown a little weary of the current punk scene (hardcore or otherwise). Not since At The Drive-In unleashed 'Relationship Of Command' way back in 2000 have I been felt anything resembling excitement towards any of todays more abrasive acts. Bands such as Off!!, Art Brut, No Age and the fantastic Titus Andronicus have offered some respite but in general we seem, collectivly, to be awash within a sea of tepid ignorance towards the art & importance that punk can inspire. Too many times have I seen chancers such as the atrocious Paramore or the truly insipid noise of All Time Low (neither of which would claim the title of 'hardcore' or possibly 'punk', but never-the-less, this is what the youth of today are being bred on. THIS is what they consider relevent).

But this week my love of everything the classic american punk acts held dear came racing back when I chanced upon 'David Comes To Life' by F***ed Up. Now I must hold my hands up and admit that this is the first FU record I've heard. Having heard only good things about their previous work (especially 'The Chemistry Of Common Life'), I neglected to search them out. My apathy towards anything resembling my cherished memories of the 80's hardcore scene meant that I was getting my musical fix from other leftfield artists such as the Animal Collective & Grizzly Bear. But sensing a lull in quality over recent LP's (seriously, The Cults is incredibly over-rated and only 'Bon Iver, Bon Iver' has kept me going the last couple of weeks) I decided to give the band's most recent output a chance to impress me.

And Impresed I certainly was. This is a milestone in modern music (punk or otherwise). 18 songs played out over 77 minutes, 'David Comes To life' is a lengthy rock opera that rivals the best in the genre such as 'Tommy' by The Who or 'Zen Arcade' from the peer-less Husker Du. The band's thrice guitar line-up, which on paper seems grossly over-indulgent & wholly un-punk like, combine breath-takingly throughout. Tracks seem to flow with a natural progression and it never feels convulted or over-egged. The only sticking point for some will be the vocals of man-mountain Pink Eyes (each of the group take up a different moniker including 10,000 Marbles, Gulag, Young Governor, Mustard Gas, Mr Jo and the aformentioned Pink Eyes) whose deep-throated delivery may have some running for cover. But anyone who grew up with the sounds of Henry Rollins ringing in their ears will feel right at home.

The album does tell a story of sorts (and there is some serious noise about a future musical) but in all honesty it feels rather unimportant once the needle hits. My advice is to sit back, forget about the story and remember a time when the term punk actually meant something. Introduce this to as many kids as possible and remind them that music CAN change the world, it can make a difference and that those damn Fall Out Boy CD's can still be used as a decent coaster replacement.
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on 17 October 2011
Not much to add to the other 20 reviews (yes 20, compare to the average number of reviews on CDs in the rest of Amazon's trance chart, regardless of the chart placing, and you'll get an idea about how much more affecting these guys' music is than most)... but, having had time to really digest it I'll wade in anyway, as any new A&B artist release is bound to be worth a few words.

As other reviewers have suggested, maybe just one additional vocalist (Ashley Tomberlin, for example?) might have added another layer of interest, and the instrumental tracks, while complementing the vocal ones, don't even seem to pack the same punch as on the classic Tri-State, from which the "sound" has not evolved much. Don't see that as a negative, though - it's just another collection of quality melodic trance for you to enjoy.

Some of the songs, although very thematically simple, are lyrically interesting (Alchemy), others go into deeper storytelling (Black Room Boy); if you want banging, chunky basslines, then You Got To Go, Black Room Boy and Giving It Out all deliver in spades, while Zoe Johnston serves up a tear-jerking tour de force on Only A Few Things which is every bit as memorable as Good For Me was on Tri-State.(You can easily imagine her re-recording this in her folky, acoustic solo style to devastating effect.)

But yep, there are a few slices of super-strong cheese, too. On My Way to Heaven would have benefited from lines and superfluous lines of Richard Bedford's lyric having been cut from the opening, at least until after the kick drum got going, giving the track more of a chance to develop, and on the chorus of Thing Called Love, you're thinking: "Hold on, did he really just rhyme 'forget' with 'regret', and then 'forget' again?"

Such gripes aside, Above & Beyond have made Xmas shopping for stocking-fillers a hell of a lot easier, as I know a few people who will really appreciate Group Therapy.
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on 15 June 2011
Well, here we are again, 5 years on from the release of Tri State and what a 5 years it's been! For some reason my previous review of Tri State still sits at the top of the 'helpful review' pile despite me saying very little about it other than '..it should be listened to..'. Well the same applies here. I'm not going to describe this one either. Except that Group Therapy once again delivers one of the finest 'dance' albums in recent years. This isn't a 1 hour 20 minute trance fest. Nor is it a random collection of studio tracks. Simply, this is the sound of Above & Beyond - Group Therapy indeed. I'm also looking forward to the remix pack that will no doubt deliver the 8 minute DJ friendly tracks that could keep any dance floor, big or small, going for a couple of hours. Thanks A&B.
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on 9 June 2011
Above & Beyond raise the bar every year with their Anjunabeats collection, and given these and the success of their previous artist album Tri-State, there was plenty of pressure on A&B to make this a fantastic album. And by and large, not surprisingly, it is.
I have criticised other trance artists, Tiesto and Armin van Buuren for example, for using excess vocalists on some of their previous albums, with a view to becoming more commercial rather than adding a genuine improvement to their tracks. So when I realised that the majority of tracks on Group Therapy contained vocals, I became a little wary. But the vocals here, trance lovers, are not overbearing and are not there purely to earn money for the artist. For a start, only two different vocalists are used, Richard Bedford who sung on the stunning 'Alone Tonight,' and Zoe Johnston, who sung on the likewise 'Good For Me.' They have gone for vocalists that (a) are very good and that genuinely compliment A&B's music and emotions, and (b) that aren't well-known. They provide a refreshing thought-provoking ambience to each track and fit with the music perfectly.
OK, maybe personally I'd have preferred a couple more non-vocal tracks; after all we know A&B are more than capable at creating and mixing songs without vocals; but this is just my taste and the harder 'Nitrous Oxide' type trance side of me talking. To knock off a star for this may seem harsh but let's face it, they have set such a high standard in recent years. And to emphasise - none of the tracks are ruined by vocals; on the contrary, all are significantly added to because of them.
A&B are thoughtful people, and this thought and emotion is expressed in every song. You can dance to most of them but strangely relax to most of them as well, or at the very least the songs brew up thoughts of your own. And continuing with the thoughtful theme, each track has had goodness knows how much thought put into it, to make it totally perfect in their eyes.
A&B are dominating the trance and electronica music scene at the moment, with good reason. This album presents only a snapshot, yet an exceptional example of their talents. Long may their tracks and their label, Anjunabeats, continue.
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on 5 August 2012
I had always associated "trance" music with mindless drug fuelled raves, but a chance hearing of "World on Fire" as a soundtrack to a Project-JK (Jeep) video led me to buy Above & Beyond's first "artist" album Tri-State. It never left my car's CD player for the next 4 years, and became my favourite driving album of all time. I looked forward to the release of their 2nd album, Group Therapy, but didn't think that it could possibly top Tri-State. At first play, I was slightly disappointed. It is somewhat darker, slower, and has less of the dance/driving beat that I loved on Tri-State. But first play can be deceiving - Group Therapy is more complex, and ultimately more rewarding than Tri-State. The dance beats are still there, but the emotion in the songs has been taken to a new level. Zoe Johnston's beautiful pure vocals on "Alchemy", and "Love is Not Enough", are heartbreaking. Every song, with the exception of the lightweight "Giving it Up", has depth and power. All of them are beautifully crafted. One year on, I still hear things that I hadn't noticed before. So Group Therapy is my current favourite album of all time. But I still don't like "trance music".
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Above & Beyond are amongst a rare breed, who understand that electronic music can be both danceable and beautiful at the same time. "Tri-State" was a great album, and "Group Therapy" carries on in the same mould; if you liked "Tri-State", you'll love "Group Therapy".

For me, the immediate stand-out tracks are "You Got To Go", "Love Is Not Enough" and the current single "Thing Called Love". The band's output keeps on getting better and better. They've always had great melodies and excellent production, but they've really developed in terms of lyrics, and this is particularly evident on tracks such as "Alchemy" and "Black Room Boy".

On all the tracks they appear on, Richard Bedford and Zoë Johnston's vocals are as flawless and ethereal as ever. The album is only (very minimally) let down by its four instrumental tracks, each of which fall a little flat in comparison to the other tracks. As nice as they are, they're not really distinctive enough to stand on their own without vocals.

"Group Therapy" is further evidence of Above & Beyond's brilliance; if only the Pet Shop Boys would sign them up to co-write and co-produce their next album.
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