The official Sitcom Soldiers-directed music video for the song "Callow" from Northern Ireland rockers THERAPY? can be seen below. The track is taken from the band's 15th studio album, "Cleave", which will be released 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.
Frontman Andy Cairns talked about the inspiration behind "Callow", taking influence from the likes of Stephen Fry, Lil Peep and how the videos visuals are representative of a zombified society under pressure to utilize Xanax as a form of therapy.
"'Callow' is one of two songs on the album that I wrote start to finish," he said. "Everyone who knows anything about our band know that I love HÜSKER DÜ and THE BUZZCOCKS and RAMONES, and this is another melodic punky song in the vein of 'Nowhere' and 'Screamager' and 'Lonely, Cryin', Only', with maybe a hint of the MANIC STREET PREACHERS' 'The Holy Bible' too.
"My son Jonah is really into a rapper called Lil Peep, which sounds to me like emo with trap drum beats, with lyrics about how fucked up and lost and lonely he feels, and I managed to get Jonah a ticket for his show in London last year. A few months later, he said to me, 'Lil Peep is dead,' and I could see that he was really affected by it: I realized that, for him, this was like the passing of John Lennon or Ian Curtis or Kurt Cobain.
"In some of his music, Lil Peep talked about the antidepressant Xanax, the overuse of which has become a real problem in the U.K., and while I was thinking about that I remembered a Stephen Fry quote where, after he was prescribed antidepressants to combat his manic depression, and he said that he felt like a zombie for months. He said something like, 'If you take away my demons, you'll also take my angels.' His point was that, yes, there were dizzying heights and terrifying lows without antidepressants, but he'd rather have that than constant numbness. So this song is talking about how we negotiate the chaos of life right now, and to understand why someone might numb out so that they don't notice our divides."
From the thrillingly propulsive assault of "Wreck It Like Beckett" via the addictive "Callow" 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.
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 admitted, "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 stated 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