Therapy? : Troublegum/Infernal Love

Therapy  Troublegum DeluxeTherapy?’s ‘Troublegum’ turns 20 this year. On top of the 20th Anniversary UK tour that is just a matter of weeks away, a selection of their back catalogue is getting the ‘Deluxe’ treatment. This instalment takes in the birthday boy, ‘Troublegum’, and it’s follow-up ‘Infernal Love’.

These albums come straight from a golden era of British rock.  Just look at the 20th Anniversaries that have been celebrated, re-released and toured recently. The Wildhearts ‘Earth vs…’ and Manic’s ‘Generation Terrorists’ to name a couple that have received the works. Will we be treasuring our downloaded files of Frank Turner’s latest album in 20 years time?

We’ll have to wait and find out…

‘Troublegum’ is one of the best rock albums of the 90’s. The lavish 3 disc renewal here is well deserved. The album boasted five hit singles, sold 750,000 copies and generally propelled Therapy? into the consciousness of every rock fan in the country.

Despite all the “hits”, ‘Troublegum’ is looked back on so favourably because it works well as a long-player. It’s not just a collection of good songs, it’s a coherent  and precise blast of black humoured pop-rock. Capturing some teenage angst in a punk spirit; it is just about faultless.

The way the tracks flow into each other adds to the urgency. ‘Knives’ into ‘Screamager’ straight through to awesome ‘Hellbelly’ without even stopping for breath. It’s not front loaded either, the album never really lets up. The quality runs right through it.

Extras? Yeah there’s plenty…all the B-sides and tracks that made up the various E.P.’s of the time. Demos, alt mixes and anything else you could desire.  Over 30 extra tracks across the other two discs that wraps up the period in the band’s history neatly and comprehensively.

So, how do you follow an album like that?

Therapy  Infernal Love DeluxeTherapy? were only too aware that it’s an impossible task. They decided not to go for the ‘Troublegum II’ approach and changed it up a bit for ‘Infernal Love’. In fact they’ve never gone back to the same formula that worked for ‘Troublegum’; they have constantly swapped it around and tried something different.

‘Infernal Love’ is almost an anti-troublegum release.

It’s is a more melancholy affair. The instantaneous appeal of its predecessor is stripped away and, although the loveable hooks are still in there somewhere,  it’s an album that requires more work to get into. Once you do peel through the more complex layers it’s a cracking album.

A darker and noticeably more variable in pace album, slow-burners such as ‘A Moment of Clarity’ hit a bit heavier and harder than before. There are still plenty of foot-to-the-floor rocking moments, but the polish is well and truly smeared  on this one.

Just the one extra disc on ‘Infernal Love’ but it’s a jam-packed one. The acoustic tracks in particular make this a worthwhile investment.

Here are two albums that can be labelled gems but two albums that sound completely different (considering they are a year apart and by the same band). Both can comfortably be called classics in their own right that you should really already own, but  the amount of extras, not to mention the remastering, make these essential purchases for the Therapy? fan or a glutinous introduction to the fine establishment of the Northern Irish rockers.