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Music / Therapy?

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The current lineup: (L-R) Neil Cooper, Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan

"James Joyce is fucking my sister!"
—The infamous lyric from Potato Junkie

Therapy? are an alternative metal band from Northern Ireland, currently consisting of vocalist/guitarist Andy Cairns, bassist Michael McKeegan, and drummer Neil Cooper. Therapy? was formed in 1989 by Cairns and drummer-vocalist Fyfe Ewing. To complete the lineup, the band recruited McKeegan, who was Ewing's classmate.

Their most famous era was undeniably the mid-90's, where they had several UK Top 40 Singles, most notably "Screamager", and released Troublegum in 1994, which has sold over two million records and is often considered one of the landmark rock 90's albums in the UK. However, it was followed by Infernal Love, which was a dark and experimental record (unlike its poppier predecessor), and the latters critical and commercial failure pretty much killed any commercial aspirations created by Troublegum.

Starting with Ewing's departure shortly after its release, the band entered its Audience-Alienating Era, with several member changes and badly received albums, along with many label problems (which eventually contributed to their records not even making it into the US market). However, the lineup stabilized in the early/mid-00's with the addition of Cooper, and they have since released several well-reviewed records and maintain a small but strong following throughout Europe.

Members (former members in italic):

  • Andy Cairns - guitar, vocals (1989-today)
  • Michael McKeegan - bass (1989-today)
  • Neil Cooper - drums (2002-today)
  • Fyfe Ewing - drums, vocals (1989-1996)
  • Graham Hopkins - drums (1996-2002)
  • Martin McCarrick - cello, guitar (1996-2003)

I got nothing to do, but hang around and get some tropes for you:

  • Album Title Drop: The first few lines of "Epilepsy" on Infernal Love.
    • Suicide Pact - You First takes its name from a lyric on "Little Tongues First".
  • Ascended Extra: Martin McCarrick played cello in both Troublegum and Infernal Love, while he also guested in several live performances at the time. In 1996, the band asked him to join them full time as a cellist/guitarist.
  • Audience Participation Song: The pre-choruses of both "Screamager" and "Stories" are sung by the crowd.
    • As is the "You're gonna die anyway" line in "Die Laughing".
    • Sometimes (especially in acoustic shows), Andy will instruct the crowd to sing along to the riffs of "Screamager" or "Teethgrinder".
  • Big Rock Ending: "30 Seconds" dissolves into total chaos on the last couple of minutes.
  • Black Sheep Hit: "Diane", a cover track that features only cello and vocals.
    • Also "Potato Junkie", but for entirely different reasons: despite being the closing track on a low-budget, indie EP, it got quite notorious for its first and quite colorful verse, that...analyzes the relationship between the subject's sister and James Joyce. Despite all that, it has become a fan favourite to the point where it has rarely been left off a setlist.
    • Also, "Screamager" was this at the time, since it had no relation to their previous Noise Rock and Grunge sound.
  • Broken Record: At the end of "Brainsaw", there's an extra part which is the song "You Are My Sunshine" as it played in a vinyl turntable. In the original US release, after the "So please don't take my sunshine away" phrase, the "away" part repeats itself for several times until the song stops abruptly, leaving the noise that the vinyl record makes for several minutes more until the song stops at 25:27. On subsequent releases, that part is reduced to a fade out.
  • Boléro Effect: "30 Seconds" has the same drum beat (minus a few fills) from the beginning to its Big Rock Ending.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "Diane" has been implied to be about sexual longing, in contrast to the original which was a straight narration of a rape/murder.
  • Cover Version: Most notably "Diane", which was their last big hit and has more streams/views on Spotify/Youtube than the Hüsker Dü original.
    • Their cover of "Isolation" by Joy Division, while not as popular as "Diane", is a fan favourite and has been a live staple for decades.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their pre-A&R EP's, Babyteeth and Pleasure Teeth, with their terrible production, noise rock sound and many samples, bear no resemblance to Nurse, much less Troublegum.
  • Epic Riff: On the guitar side, "Screamager" and "Teethgrinder".
    • Fyfe Ewing has several, most notably on "Teethgrinder" and "Meat Abstract".
  • Fading into the Next Song: The majority of both Troublegum and Infernal Love has this.
  • Garage Band: Started as one.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Two — "So Much For The Ten Year Plan" and "Greatest Hits: Abbey Road Sessions".
  • Grunge: Their record company initially tried to shoehorn them into the genre, even going as far as proposing Butch Vig for producer on their debut, but the band was never comfortable with that label — luckily for them, "Screamager"'s success stopped any relation with it.
  • Homesickness Hymn: "Six Mile Water" off Suicide Pact-You First.
  • Lead Drummer: Fyfe Ewing sang lead vocals on several early songs, like "Meat Abstract" and "Teethgrinder".
    • It has been implied by some fans that his gradual removal from vocal duties was a factor in his leaving the band in January 1996.
  • Let's Duet: Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield guests on a re-recording of "Die Laughing" for Therapy's Greatest Hits: Abbey Road Sessions album.
  • Lighter and Softer: Averted: while there have been several albums where they had a Pop Punk sound, they always had a certain heaviness on their sound.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Crooked Timber takes its title from a phrase by Emmanuel Kant.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "30 Seconds" on Infernal Love.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Their current one is Type 2.
  • Love Is a Drug: "Screamager".
  • New Sound Album: Several, especially on the early stages of their career.
    • Nurse, despite being their debut LP, was notably different as a Music/Grunge record compared to their earlier noise rock EP's.
    • After the immense success of "Screamager" as a standalone single, the band was at a crossroads about how to follow it. Cue Troublegum, an album that despite its heavy guitars and fast tempo, has several melodic songs.
    • And next? While the safe bet would be to create a duplicate of the massively successful Troublegum (as was expected by their label), Therapy? created a moody, introspective record with ballads, electronic interludes and little to no pop sensitivities: Infernal Love.
      • After the turn of the century, they have crystallized their sound into an Alternative Metal context, that features influencies from throughout their career.
  • One-Hit Wonder: "Screamager" is their only Top-10 hit.
  • Punk Rock: While not a punk band, punk elements were clearly part of the charm at their commercial heyday.
    • Still, some of their songs (like "Nowhere", "Loose" and "30 Seconds"), are straight-up pop punk.
  • The Quiet One: Fyfe Ewing was rarely talking at interviews, even when present.
  • Re Release The Song: "Greatest Hits: Abbey Road Sessions" recreates all their Top 40 hits.
  • Religion Rant Song: "Lunacy Booth" goes pretty hard against religion.
  • Rock Trio: Have been throughout their career, with the exception of the period between 1996-2003.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Several, most notably "Screamager", "Die Laughing" and "Potato Junkie".
  • Phrase Salad Lyrics: "Your ass is like Jesus' feet - worth kissing" from "A Moment of Clarity".
  • Sampling: Used extensively up to Troublegum (for a rock band at least), sparingly since.
  • Spirtual Successor: Cleave is lyrically that, as it follows the protagonist of Troublegum 20 years later.
  • Take That!!: Despite its at first incoherent lyrics, "Potato Junkie" is an attack on the "James Joyce and shamrocks image that the Irish Tourist Board is trying to promote".
  • Textless Album Cover: Infernal Love.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Most people's reaction to Infernal Love.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Teethgrinder", minus the samples.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Troublegum. To their credit, despite being told by a label executive that "your new album is expected (by the label, no less) to hit one million sales", they never intended to make a simple copy of Troublegum.
    • Also, Fyfe Ewing was the band's not so secret weapon, and even today a simple scroll through the comment section at most live videos will result in several "I wish Fyfe was still there" comments.
  • Unreplaced Departed: After Martin McCarrick was fired in 2004 (despite not performing with the band since 2003), they never replaced him in guitar/cello and continued as a three-piece.
  • Vindicated by History: In spite of being slammed both critically and commercially at its release simply for not being Troublegum, Infernal Love is much more well-recieved today, and the band even did a 20th anniversary tour where they played it in full.