Including a date at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth


Out 23rd March, Therapy?’s first recording for new label Amazing Record Co., Disquiet comprises 11 tracks of charged, in-your-face, bruisingly melodic punk/metal. A sequel of sorts to the band’s million-selling 1994 album Troublegum, it is by turns confrontational, challenging, vengeful and venomous, a visceral and utterly compelling document of a confident band operating at the peak of their powers. Produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood/Band of Skulls/Turbowolf) at Blast studios in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it’s both the most accessible record Therapy? have made in two decades, and a reaffirmation of their healthy respect for noise, chaos and unsettling psychodrama.

“We wanted to write something a bit more anthemic again,” explains vocalist/guitarist Cairns. “In May last year we did a 20th anniversary tour for the Troublegum album, and it was completely sold out, and it was great hearing those songs sung back at us, and seeing what they meant to people. Clearly it would be idiocy for us to attempt to recreate Troublegum, because that was a different era, and a different band line-up, but the starting point for this album for me was thinking ëWhat would the protagonist of Troublegum be doing twenty years on?’ Our last two albums [2009’s Crooked Timber and 2012’s A Brief Crack of Light] were more experimental and diverse, and we already knew that he wanted to go back to more song-based stuff this time around, so that conceptual idea dovetailed perfectly with what we planned in terms of the musical direction.”


Outsiders from day one, Therapy? have drawn upon the attendant feelings of alienation, frustration and dislocation for strength and inspiration across their remarkable 26 year career, crafting a dark, idiosyncratic worldview which has garnered the group a reputation as one of the most uncompromising, creative and individualistic bands of their generation. The tightly wound punk-metal of Troublegum propelled Therapy? into the UK Top 5, sold one million copies worldwide and spawned no less than five Top 40 singles (“Turn”, “Nowhere”, “Die Laughing”, “Trigger Inside” and “Screamager”, the lead cut from the 1993’s Shortsharpshock EP), landing the band a Mercury Music Prize nomination in the process.
Disquiet, the band’s fourteenth studio album, extends this proud legacy, and finds the trio of Cairns, bassist Michael McKeegan and drummer Neil Cooper in incendiary form.

“In constructing Disquiet we went back to the old-fashioned way in which Troublegum was written,” explains Cairns, “whereby I’d take my guitar, play a song, record it on my phone and then send the song to the guys finished”, in terms of lyrics, melody and guitar chords. We started with 19 songs, recorded 18 of them and then worked with Tom [Dalgety] to select the ones that best represented what we were trying to do with this record. And we’re genuinely delighted with how things have turned out.”

From the brilliant, brutalist wake-up call of snub-nosed opening track Still Hurts (“Each year, it gets worse. It won’t stop, still hurts”) through to the aching, end-of-the-world desolation of closer Deathstimate (“The road ahead looks shorter than the one behind”), Disquiet is Therapy? at their sharpest and most focused, a weighty, undeniably powerful and emotionally affecting body of work which both builds upon the band’s acclaimed catalogue and opens up new creative horizons. Updating the angst-filled Troublegum story with searing honesty and no little wit, it’s a fascinating, bold and belligerent set of modern rock anthems which stands toe-to-toe with the finest albums in the Therapy? canon.

“I don’t think the album’s protagonist is a happier man,” Cairns muses, “but I think he’s a more capable man in terms of dealing with the world than the guy who wrote Troublegum was. Troublegum was largely impotent rage, whereas Disquiet is more considered anger. We’re very proud of this album, and we feel that it’s another step forward on our musical journey. Now we just can’t wait for people to hear it”.


Disquiet Track-by-Track, by Andy Cairns…

Still Hurts
This was kinda a riposte to [Troublegum’s opening track] Knives: I was thinking “The person that wrote Knives all those years ago, how is he feeling now?” And I was thinking that he’d still be pissed off. There’s this myth that somehow when you get older the way that you thought when you were younger disappears, and you replace it with some kind of wisdom. But that can be ludicrous: I think that many people just bury all their anger and all their despair behind a middle-aged sheen of respectability and I think often those feelings are still there, but it’s seen as bad etiquette to still be bellicose and complaining at a certain age of your life. So it’s kinda saying that the things that hurt me then, still hurt me now, and I know from other people that I’ve talked to that I’m not alone in this. The song is very short, direct, riffy and in-your-face, and a good way to start the album. It was one of the first things we wrote for the album. And because of the production from Tom it’s still very contemporary sounding, it doesn’t sound like we’ve made a ë90s retro record.î

Tides is a song I’d written long ago, under the influence of Husker Du, one of the evergreen mainstays of my musical education: they’re one of those band that I sometimes take for granted and then every now and then I’ll listen to three of their albums in a day and get completely inspired to write something. When I lived in Dun Laoghaire in Ireland I used to live near the harbour, and some nights I’d stay up all night to try to get inspiration for songs and I often ended up going down to the pier and just looking out at the waves. Later on I found out that Samuel Beckett used to get a great deal of influence from that as well. One of his plays, Krapp’s Last Tape, has this character sitting with a tape player, playing back audio diaries of his youth, and there’s a bit where Beckett talks about getting the inspiration for his best work while standing at Dun Laoghaire harbour. So I took that low point in my life and how I managed to dig myself out of it as an inspiration. Originally it was written kinda like Die Laughing or Nowhere off Troublegum, with a catchy Husker Di-influenced chorus, but we took a bit of influence from bands like My Bloody Valentine with the brief section of warped guitar. I think Therapy? fans who liked Lonely, Crying, Only and Die Laughing will like this song.

Good News Is No News
I was originally trying here to write a song a bit like Depeche Mode, and I think that might still be obvious in some of the instrumental bits, and in the phrasing of the guitar. Lyrically the inspiration came from us talking about the negativity in this world: we all know people who’re kinda Eeyore-ish, who’re just drawn to negativity, and the subject of the song is a composite of people we know who’re like that.

Fall Behind
This was originally a kind of breezy garage rock song, with a bit of a swing to it, but when Tom heard it he came back and said “Maybe we could toughen this up a little bit, make it a bit more driving and a bit heavier.” It’s kinda written about myself, and how if I’m not careful it’s easy to fall into either retrogressive nostalgia or into bitterness: it’s a way of me trying to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get on with life.

Idiot Cousin
People sometimes think that when Therapy? appeared on the music scene we were immediately seen as cool, but that’s so far from the truth! There were a lot of established bands in Belfast at the time, and when a chubby guy with a beard, a little guy with round glasses and a big tall guy who wouldn’t speak to anyone, three oddballs from Ballyclare and Larne, turned up to play shows people would just look at us like ëWho are these people?’ But that suited us fine. When I first played this song to Neil [Cooper] he said “That riff could have been on Babyteeth” and we decided to keep it up-front and sonically in-your-face like that.

Helpless Still Lost
The vibe we were going for here was kinda like Unbeliever from Troublegum: when we wrote that song originally we wanted hip-hop drums and Helmet riffing, and this had a similar genesis. Neil came up with the drum beat first and I started playing this continuous riff over and over on top of it. But that sounded a bit too old school, so worked on it more: when you’re basing a song on one riff (as we have before on songs like Unbeliever and Opal Mantra) you really have to focus on the dynamics, to make sure that it doesn’t sound one-dimensional and dull.

We’ve been playing this song live for quite a while, and it always goes down well. I wanted something with the same kind of feel as [Joy Division cover] Isolation from Troublegum but not one written by someone else! It’s almost as if we’ve been listening to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Black Sabbath’s first album simultaneously and blended the two together.

Vulgar Display of Powder
I had this title for ages, and it was basically written about hanging around rock festivals in the ë90s and the various characters that you’d meet in clubs and backstage areas while on the road. It’d be hypocritical of me to say that it’s damning drugs, but it’s damning the effects that certain drugs can have on certain people. I had this classic Therapy? – sounding, blunt, stabby riff and the lyrics fitted well over that and then we added this kind of Ozzy Osbourne-melody on the chorus.

Words Fail Me
This is not dissimilar to Idiot Cousin: it has a punk-ish vibe and veers off into Dead Kennedys’ territory at the end. The idea behind it is quite literal: it’s basically about the frustration of being undone by language, when you literally can’t find the words to explain or get a grasp of a situation.

Torment, Sorrow, Misery, Strife
We’ve had this song for ages, and it’s almost like a second cousin to 30 Seconds off our Infernal Love album. It’s got quite an obvious, catchy chord progression, but the important thing for us was getting the rhythm right, and we finally settled upon hardcore-style, in-your-face drums and that seemed to click best. The original title of the song was I’ve Had 18 Straight Whiskies, I Think That’s A Record, which were apparently Dylan Thomas’ last words, but we decided that might be a little long! It’s a little tongue-in-cheek: with another band the lyrics might seem quite nihilistic, but with us it’s more a reflection of just getting on with things.

This might be my favourite track on the record. I had the riff and the chorus for this, and I said to Tom Dalgety “I want this to sound like Portishead are playing Black Sabbath”. He put together a drum loop and got Neil to play over it, and I played the riff, and we like how it sounded, with this really heavy, almost 70’s style riff over the top of these funky drums. The day after we demoed it, Tom came down to breakfast and played us a track he’d hear online, with Beth [Gibbons] from Portishead covering the song Black Sabbath, and so we were quite chuffed that that concept was actually a reality!

Tour Dates March/April 2015
BRISTOL – Friday 27TH March – The Marble
BRIGHTON – Tuesday 31ST March – CONCORDE 2 – Support from Triggerfinger
LONDON – 1ST April – SCALA – Support from Triggerfinger
PORTSMOUTH – 12TH April – Wedgewood
CARDIFF – 13TH April – The Globe
READING – 14TH April – Sub 89
BIRMINGHAM – 16TH April – Rainbow Warehouse
NOTTINGHAM – 17TH April – THE Rescue Rooms
MANCHESTER – 18TH April – Academy 2
LEEDS – 19TH April – Brudenell Society Club
NORTHAMPTON – 20TH April – Roadmender
NORWICH – 21ST April – The Waterfront
GLASGOW – 23RD April – Oran Mor
NEWCASTLE – 24TH April – Academy
COVENTRY 25TH April – Kasbah


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