Therapy? have always been a fearless band, never afraid of taking chances by producing complex music that has occasionally left people scratching their heads and leaving themselves at risk of alienating their audience by experimenting with their core sound. You only have to look at the reviews of the 1995 release ‘Infernal Love’ which bemused the press, the fans and even the band themselves for the longest of times. It is now recognised as a great album and the band even toured on the back of it some twenty years later in 2016 to great acclaim. I’d picked up on a positive vibe around the new record prior to receiving ‘Hard Cold Fire’ for review and I’m pleased to report that it’s a fabulous piece of work, vying with ‘Suicide Pact-You First’ as the best record the band have ever produced.
Therapy? made it clear that although this album was recorded during the COVID lockdown period, they didn’t want to release a depressing, angry record simply because people have had enough and needed a break from that period in time. ‘Hard Cold Fire’, while containing all of the band’s literary references, complex arrangements, aggression and power, is also incredibly immediate and accessible. Opener ‘They Shoot The Terrible Master’ was inspired by the words of David Foster Wallace and is a powerful and thought provoking track, particularly if you know the backstory of that writer. ‘Bewildered Herd’ is another amazing burst of energy that is based on the writing of Walter Lippmann who died in 1974 but has never been more relevant in this day and age and is about media manipulation. I’ll leave you to work out the rest of the influences and inspirations of Andy Cairns’ words as that’s always part of the pleasure of listening to a new Therapy? record.
The opening single from the album, ‘Joy’ and the follow up ‘Poundland Of Hope And Glory’ appear to have whetted the appetite of fans due to their relatively upbeat and catchy vibes, while ‘10 Days Kollaps’ is my favourite track on the album and is a slower more mournful song compared to the rest of the record. All ten songs on display here are the band at the peak of their powers via both the written word and as musicians, so if you’ve ever had any affinity with this group, I can guarantee you will love this work.
Reviewer & Album Information
Reviewer: Graeme Wright
Genre: Hard Rock
Issue Reviewed In: #103