Northern Ireland rockers THERAPY? will release their 15th studio album, "Cleave", on September 21 via Marshall Records. Roughly themed around notions of duality and division, the band's follow-up to 2015's acclaimed "Disquiet" — and their first recording for Marshall — is a sharply focused, fiercely intelligent, impassioned and empowering set of songs from a band operating at a creative and artistic peak. A scathing, incisive state-of-the-nation address, investigating the schisms in contemporary society and the motivations of those seeking to propagate disjuncture, it's a powerful, challenging, uncompromising collection from a band never afraid to confront and dissect humanity's darkest impulses.
From the thrillingly propulsive assault of "Wreck It Like Beckett" via the addictive "Callow" (the album's first single, out now) and the unsettling "I Stand Alone" to the disquieting, bleakly beautiful "No Sunshine", the ten tracks which make up "Cleave" coalesce to paint a portrait of a fractured, dislocated world rent by unprincipled, mendacious masters.
Frontman Andy Cairns is justifiably proud of the unified drive and restless creativity evident in this powerful, questing collection and says this about the forthcoming opus.
"I know that we can be a difficult sell, because we have no particular niche and no desire to conform," he admits, "but THERAPY? have always been the kind of band that when people discover us, they immerse themselves deep and keep us close to their hearts. We've never been part of a trend, so we've never been cast aside when fashions changed.
"'Cleave', to me, is THERAPY? at our most focused. I love our more experimental side, but I also love that this record sounds like it was made by a band who're all reading from the same script and moving forward with the same determination and hunger."
"We're living in a time riven by conflict," Andy Cairns states baldly. "You look at what's happening in the United States at present, what's going on with Brexit in the U.K., with North and South Korea, with Palestine and Israel, and it's impossible not to see turmoil and turbulence. Some of these conflicts have been going on as long as I can remember, but they seemed to really reach a head again around the time we were writing the album. 'Cleave' is our response to the divisions we see all around us."
Cairns credits producer Chris Sheldon (FOO FIGHTERS, BIFFY CLYRO, FEEDER), who worked with the band on 1994's "Troublegum", 1998's "Semi-Detached" and 2003's "High Anxiety", for keeping the band fixated upon delivering their new material with maximum impact, streamlining arrangements and stripping away extraneous fat, setting aside ego in service of the songs.
The result is one of the most formidable, provocative and impactful albums of THERAPY?'s storied 29-year career, once again proving that the band's pre-eminence as one of the U.K.'s most inventive, fearless and individualistic musical artists.
Andrew James Cairns - Vocals/Guitar
Michael McKeegan - Bass
Neil Cooper - Drums
Photo credit: Tom Hoad