If you’re searching for some music to test your mind and try your patience this week then look no further than the latest – and some might say greatest – work from uber cool Ulstermen Therapy?.
It’s quite a contrast to this week’s other hot release as Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan delivers his first album of original material for 12 years. We give you the verdict on both and if you’re wondering why there’s no Mastodon CD to review – so are we. As soon as it crosses our path we’ll bring you the lowdown on the prog metal superstars’ seemingly excellent Crack The Skye.
Therapy? – Crooked Timber (DR2)
There comes a moment in every band’s lifetime when the combination of experience, expertise, excellence and confidence results in the record which should surely define their career. In Therapy?’s case that moment is now as Crooked Timber shakes up the status quo, sets new standards and challenges musicians everywhere to step up to the mark.
Just don’t expect to appreciate this album’s intricate web of smart storytelling and astute comment immediately. If ever there was a grower then this is it and maybe it’s best enjoyed in small bursts in the beginning. In isolation tracks like Enjoy The Struggle, Clowns Galore and Magic Mountain are as thrillingly fresh as anything Andy Cairns and his colleagues have penned in the past. But hear Crooked Timber as a whole for the first time and the rhythm-heavy production detracts from the album’s finer melodic moments.
If you own the Therapy? back catalogue, chewed on Teethgrinder as a kid and break out in a cold sweat every time Troublegum‘s myriad classics capture your attention then you’ll love, hate and then learn to love this record again. Brilliant, brave and beautifully bleak.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Rock Therapy
Ian Gillan – One Eye To Morocco (earMUSIC)
Dull, dull, dull. It’s disappointing to conclude that 12 years after his last album of original solo material one of the finest frontmen in rock can muster nothing more than this lame tribute to the 80s. It’s an era we at rushonrock love like no other and yet Gillan lacks the confidence to release a fully-blown slice of retro pop rock. Instead we have this horrible mish mash of styles and a misleading album title to boot.
Never does his voice dip below the exceptional but in many ways that’s what makes One Eye To Morocco so much worse. With such perfect pipes why cheapen the listening experience with plodding melodies and mundane rhythms? The reggae-tinged Girl Goes To Show is pleasant enough in a UB40 kinda way but is that really what we want from Gillan in 2009? And the synth-infused Deal With It wouldn’t seem out of place on one of Phil Collins’ more average solo offerings.
There’s more than a hint of Springsteen by the time track 11 – the excellent It Would Be Nice – rolls off the stereo but will anyone make it this far? One Eye On Morocco, maybe. The other eye off the ball, most certainly.
rushonrock rated: 4/10 One Eye On Failure