implosion therapy


Therapy? are an alternative metal band from Northern Ireland. The band was formed in 1989 by guitarist/vocalist Andy Cairns from Ballyclare and drummer Fyfe Ewing from Larne, Northern Ireland. The band initially recorded their first demo with Andy filling in on bass guitar. To complete the line up, the band recruited bassist Michael McKeegan.

With keen pop sensibilities, a skewed sense of humour and a willingness to draw inspiration from diverse sources (notably punk rock), Therapy? came to attention in the early 1990s rise of alternative rock, but have endured for more than a decade since; Critic Johnny Loftus writes, "[a]fter a ten-plus year career that has seen them outlast competitors and outwit industry attempts at categorization ... Therapy? are still headbangers with their thinking caps screwed on tight.


The early years

The band, highly influenced by artists of the indie rock movement, released its first single, called Meat Abstract, in 1990, on its own independent label, Multifuckingnational Records. Only 1000 copies have been pressed. At the summer of that year, the band made its first tour through the United Kingdom, catching the attention of influential DJ John Peel along the way.

The band's early years followed the familiar pattern of hard graft on the local alternative music scene, with Cairns often putting in a full day at the Michelin tyre factory (where he worked as a quality controller), then speeding across Northern Ireland in order to make it to gigs. Therapy? quickly came to the attention of local music fans with their distinctively uncompromising style. Their use of guitar feedback as a "fourth instrument" and unconventional song structures, combined with a darkly original approach to lyrics led them to being spotted in 1991 by the hip London-based independent label Wiiija a move helped by Leslie Rankine of Silverfish, who passed the band's first single on to Wiiija Records. The band returned the favour on their fourth album Troublegum by giving Rankine a guest appearance as a backing vocalist.

The band's first album, 1991's Babyteeth, and its 1992 follow up, Pleasure Death, were successful enough to earn the band a major label deal with A&M Records. The two albums, although poorly engineered in places, brimmed with originality and potential, exciting the music press and winning the band a formidable "underground" fanbase. Babyteeth and Pleasure Death both went to number 1 in the UK Indie Charts. A compilation of the two albums entitled Caucasian Psychosis was prepared for the American market.

Their debut A&M record, Nurse, confirmed the band as one of the most exciting finds in British music for several years, making its way in to UK's Top 40 Album Chart. The grunge revolution was in full swing, with US outfit Nirvana leading the way. Predictably, the media began to draw comparisons with the two bands. Fans of both groups have dismissed such comparisons out of hand, citing various differences in style and background. Nevertheless, the heavy guitars and inventive drumming that was swiftly becoming Therapy?'s trademark led them more towards the grunge camp than away from it.

The success

If there was one true "breakthrough" year in the band's history, it would almost certainly be 1993. The release of the Shortsharpshock EP stunned many by catapulting Therapy? into the Top 40, peaking at nine, and rooting the anthemic single Screamager deep into the fabric of contemporary rock music. The single swelled the already burgeoning fanbase even further, augmented by the first of several appearances on the venerable UK music show Top Of The Pops. However, it was clear that the band's music was changing, evolving from experimental noise trips into something far more accessible.

1994 saw the release of the commercially successful Troublegum album, which earned the band appearances at a string of rock and indie festivals over the next couple of years, as well as a clutch of Top 40 singles. It remains for many people, the band's high point, achieving a string of nominations in end-of-year polls and success at the Kerrang! Awards.

With impatience mounting for a new album, Infernal Love was released in early 1995. This time, the press reaction was lukewarm. As ambitious as ever, the band had attempted to create a "cinematic" record with Belfast DJ David Holmes employed to link each tracks with "insanity", but in the eyes of many, had produced a disjointed piece over-subscribed with ballads. It was clear that Therapy? had changed direction, and despite the singles Stories and Loose charting, much of the early momentum had gone.

Fyfe leaving the band

Fyfe Ewing left the band in early 1996, citing the pressures of a constant touring schedule. It was widely assumed that with such a key component now missing, the band would inevitably break up. Cairns, now a respected songwriter in his own right, had other ideas. The band quickly recruited Graham Hopkins to replace Ewing as well as the permanent addition of guest cellist Martin McCarrick, and work began on the Semi-Detached album. The band toured the remainder of the year to allow the new guys to settle in, and spent most of 1997 writing and rehearsing the follow-up to Infernal Love.

While the Church Of Noise single failed to succeed commercially, it clawed back some of the kudos that had been lost with Infernal Love. The Semi-Detached album transcended the trajectory of Troublegum and Infernal Love with their dark, broody atmosphere. However, promotion for the album was scant at best, due to problems at the A&M label, which culminated in the loss of their record deal with the company.

The turn of the millennium

The Semi-Detached album is in retrospect the band at its most radio-friendly, but despite this the band's commercial success has waned considerably. The bands' sentiment towards newer alternative metal bands was expressed in the song Ten Year Plan from the band's uncompromising Suicide Pact - You First, an album which was packed full of vitriol, discontent and barely-repressed musical aggression. This album revealed a fuller-sound, yet was noticeably lacking in songs suitable of mainstream-radio airplay. The following year saw the release of the So Much For The Ten Year Plan-A Retrospective 1990-2000 album which (in title at least) was a self-deprecating poke at the bands' difficulties with corporate rock in recent years. After the problems resulting from the late release and touring of the follow-up record Shameless (produced by the legendary Jack Endino), Graham Hopkins, who was unhappy with the musical direction the band had taken, quit the band. He immediately became very busy, being asked to play live and on albums with popular Irish acts such as Gemma Hayes, The Frames and The Reindeer Section, amongst many more. Graham also recorded two albums and fronted his own solo band, Halite. He was replaced in Therapy? by ex- The Beyond/Cable/Gorilla drummer Neil Cooper. This line-up lasted one album, the commercially inclined High Anxiety (the most successful album sales-wise since Semi-Detached) until Martin McCarrick left in March 2004.

Never Apologise Never Explain was released in late 2004 to an audience who had just become re-acquainted with the three-piece Therapy? who had unleashed an album which is reminiscent of the sound of their earlier material.

Their newest album One Cure Fits All was released in early 2006. The album has received a mixed reaction from the bands fans with many people claiming to not like the production style.

Although now vanished from the charts and wide media attention, Therapy? continue releasing material, gaining enough attention to enable them to tour. The band continues to entertain a small loyal following. Even though he has reached the age of 40, Cairns has been quoted as having no plans to quit.

Recent years

In September 2006, Therapy? performed an exclusive studio show of songs chosen by fans, who had voted for their three favourite tracks from a lengthy list on the band's website. These votes were counted and the twelve tracks with the most votes were then performed and recorded (both as audio and video). From Monday January 15, 2007, these tracks became available to buy from the band's official website,

In an interview in 2006 the band announced plans for a compilation album of radio sessions. It was revealed on the band's official website that on February 26 2007, Music Through A Cheap Transistor would be released as a digital download. It would later be released in 2CD format.

2007 was a quiet year for the band, they didn't play any gigs in the United Kingdom instead focusing on markets they don't usually play, involving a slot at the NxNE festival in Canada, festival dates in Greece, Slovakia, Switzerland and Austria and a tour through countries such as Croatia and Serbia. The band ended the year by supporting New Model Army at their Christmas gig in Paris.

On January 24, 2008, the band announced through their website that they have signed a worldwide contract with Demolition Records.

Therapy? were a last minute replacement for Biffy Clyro on the Jägermeister Rock Liga tour of Germany which lasted from February 11 - February 15 2008.

On April 1st 2008, the band announced they would self-produce their next album and had basic tracks recorded in anticipation of a late 2008 release. This was later revealed to be an April Fools' hoax.

The band has stated that they plan to release a new album in early 2009 and will be produced by Andy Gill. Video of rehearsals have surfaced on Therapy?'s website offering previews of the new work, showcasing a more jazz-influenced direction ("Rehearsal"), alongside a rough track typical of newer Therapy? output (working-titled "Clowns Galore").

Question mark suffix

Much has been made over the years of the unusual question mark suffix to the band's name. Various theories have been ventured by fans, many of them bizarre. The truth is somewhat mundane; when designing the band's first home produced single, Andy Cairns misaligned the Letraset adhesive label on the sleeve, and used the "?" icon to fill the space.

Collaborations and appearances in other media

Therapy? collaborated with rapper Fatal on the track "Come and Die" from the soundtrack to the 1993 film Judgment Night.

Therapy? also recorded a cover of "Iron Man" (by Black Sabbath) with Ozzy Osbourne (albeit in different studios) for the album Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath.

Therapy? recorded a cover of "Invisible Sun" (by The Police) for the charity album "Peace Together" in 1993.

Therapy?'s song "Auto Surgery" is featured on Electronic Arts' video game Road Rash for the 3DO, Saturn, and Playstation consoles; it also appears in Dominic Sena's 1993 movie Kalifornia, starring Brad Pitt.

"Screamager" and "Nowhere" are heard on the first series of the BBC sitcom Game On.

Therapy? covered the Misfits song, "Where Eagles Dare," for the 1997 Misfits tribute album, "Violent World."

Therapy? covered the Smiths song, "Vicar in a Tutu," for the 1997 Smiths tribute album, "The Smiths Is Dead."

Therapy? covered the Turbonegro song, "Denim Demon," for the 2001 Turbonegro tribute album, "Alpha Motherfuckers."

Andy Cairns has contributed vocals to various recordings with different bands throughout the years - "Jonestown Mind" by The Almighty, "Get Your Groove On" by The Wildhearts, "Gleason" by Throat, "Radio" by Dog Toffee, "Rehab" by Manchild, "F8" by This Is Menace





Other releases

External links

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