Therapy? Crooked Timber
Reviewer: Edwin McFee
On paper, ‘Crooked Timber’ really shouldn’t work as a record. For starters it’s referred to as frontman Andy Cairns’ “mid-life crisis” album. Secondly, it features a ten minute long instrumental (‘Magic Mountain’) and thirdly it’s the band’s 12th record in the band’s 20year history. All in all, the signs are pointing to the alley marked “indulgent,” right? Wrong. You see Therapy? are at their best with their backs to the wall and when they’re making music for the sheer joy of it and ‘Crooked Timber’ has “fuck you” written all over it.
Over the course of ten tracks, the band sound venomous, ripping into each song with wild abandon. Album opener ‘the Head That Tried to Strangle Itself’ is as sinister as the title suggests, ‘Enjoy the Struggle’ sounds like the spiritual sibling to ‘Ten Year Plan’ and the title track sees the band experiment with atmosphere and phrasing, rather than just bludgeoning us over the head with gargantuous guitar riffs.
‘Crooked Timber’ is the sound of a band finally at home with themselves. Ten years ago they probably wouldn’t have had the stones to put ‘Magic Mountain’ on an album for fear of alienating their fans, but their new found confidence and (dare we say it) maturity means that from here on out, anything is possible in Therapy? land. In short, ‘Crooked Timber’ is one of the most exciting albums the band have ever made. If this is what happens when you have a mid-life crisis, then we can’t wait until we have ours too.
Download: ‘Enjoy the Struggle,’ Exiles,’ ‘I Told You I Was Ill.’
For Fans Of: Husker Du, Helmet, Zeke