Therapy? – CLEAVE


“The cream of this country, rich and thick, will always rise to the top…”

Marshall Records, released 21st September 2018

Review by Ian Savage

If there’s anything that the world’s in need of right now, it’s an unapologetic punk-rock record that isn’t afraid to nail its colours to the mast.

Sometimes what you need comes from the unlikeliest of quarters. Whilst you might be expecting the American West or East coast anger-merchants to be the most vocal in walling up against the right-wing swell that’s creeping into mainstream politics, it’s actually Northern Ireland’s Therapy? who’ve made the best record to get you through this, for now.

You want authenticity? These guys were breathing in political uncertainty from the Northern Irish Troubles before the band even formed. You want venom? On the strength of this they’re more than capable of spitting it back out again.

“We’re living in a time riven by conflict,” frontman Andy Cairns states. “You look at what’s happening in the United States at present, what’s going on with Brexit in the UK… CLEAVE is our response to the divisions we see all around us.”

Opener “Wreck It Like Beckett” comes in with one of the most simple-yet-effective riffs that a band with a history of simple-yet-effective riffs could have come up with…and there’s barely a down point from there.

Cleave isn’t just a blunt outpouring of rage – it’s got more than its fair share of lyricism to hone the blade and pull in the subject. ‘Katistocracy’ offers the question “what about the desperate, what about the homeless?” before proffering, “it’s okay not to be okay when you’re living through this”; and “the cream of this country, rich and thick, will always rise to the top” [‘Success? Success Is Survival’] is possibly one of the most perfect, poetic lines ever committed to tape.

And of course Therapy? HAVE to include their trademarks; the soaring major-key chorus in ‘Crutch’ is there for the Troublegum fans, that weird ’take-your-face-off’ high-tuned snare drum (that you don’t notice unless you’re listening for it – sorry) endures throughout, and there’s a general air of swaggering urgency.

If ‘swaggering urgency’ sounds like a dichotomy, it is. Cleave is the perfect album for right now — Therapy? are carrying their message, it’s your call whether you get it or not.

Personally, I’d get it on all formats for that one line.

Track list:

  1. Wreck It Like Beckett
  2. Katistocracy
  3. Callow
  4. Expelled
  5. Success? Success Is Survival
  6. Save Me From The Ordinary
  7. Crutch
  8. I Stand Alone
  9. DumbDown
  10. No Sunshine