Broken Record #21


Even as a blinkered teenage metal enthusiast I always thought that Therapy? were different. Certainly different to most of the bands that were cutting their cloth in the early/mid 90s rock scene. They mashed up the genres with pounding disco beats, choruses of sing-along teenage angst and energetic pumping basslines. They incorporated obscure film and literary references, they were British in a sea of Americans and they were even a little bit cool. It's no surprise that front-man Andy Cairns has the eclectic record collection to match, which he talks passionately about here. Therapy? have a busy year ahead, with a new album being recorded right now (#14 no less), and the expanded re-issues of their classic albums Troublegum and Infernal Love (get the mouth watering lowdown here). Its also 20 years since Troublegum came out, which is scary, and they'll be playing the record in full on a short UK tour in April. See below for details. But first check out Mr Cairns' tip top record selections.

Under-rated Record

Fugazi - Red Medicine

I love Fugazi and was distraught on first hearing this in '95. Part of their appeal was the far reaching influences they brought to each record but nothing had prepared me for the musique concrete intro and C86 jangle of the opening chords of 'Do you like me'. I sat through the album a few times and then, gutted, took it off. I felt so guilty, as if i'd betrayed a friend. Several years later, excited by the Wugazi album doing the rounds I began to go back to my old Wu Tang and Fugazi records and was piqued by how many tracks from Red Medicine now sounded incredible, how did i miss them first time round? 'Bed For the Scraping' features complex guitar interplay with MC5 slashing chords, 'Latest Disgrace' has a complex riff that seems to channel both Slint and Funkadelic and closer 'Long Distance Runner' has a stoic beauty that brings the album to a gracious end. Ever since the rediscovery this album has never been far from me and like all rewarding listens I hear strange new glimmers every time I listen.
Over-rated Record

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Apart from 'Go your own Way' which admittedly is catchy and melodramatic in equal measures and the section of 'The Chain' which everybody knows from TV I've never, ever, got this record. Trusted friends lose their shit over it and I've heard it mentioned in the weirdest of places. A couple of Dutch punk promoters tried to argue with me one night about how important it was but I wouldn't be convinced. When it came out I was eleven years old, attending high school education and discovering music. It was everywhere, the cover i knew from every record store shelf and friends big brothers and sisters record collection and the music was all over the radio. If you walked into the school teachers staff room to deliver a message chances were that 'Rumours' would be soundtracking the mild beige flirting between the French and Geology teachers. For all it's alleged pop mystery I've always associated it with leather elbow patches.
Record of Sin

The Muppet Show

I don't really buy into the whole 'guilty pleasure' thing as I think you either put your hand up to liking something or don't bother with it at all. I used to have a flat-mate in East Belfast who would buy the NME's single and album of the week religiously every week and then several months later take them all down to the second hand record shop to get rid of them when the bands had fallen out of favour. He would however have a secret stash that he kept but out of public sight and which I stumbled upon one day. The fear in his pallid, imploring eyes still haunts me "please don't tell" they trembled. If I had to pick an inappropriate record for a grown man to listen to occasionally it would be The Muppet Show. It came out the same year as 'Never Mind The Bollocks' (which i also bought) and was always on in our house at some point as everybody loved it. Fozzies gags, Mnah, Mnah and the ersatz speakeasy charm of Mr Bassman. When my friends all got together we would have quote-along sessions to this album and sing-along sessions to the Pistols. "Good grief! The comedian's a Bear! No he's a not, he's a wearing a neck-a-tie!". Timeless.
Joyful Record

Burial - Untrue

I adore this album. It came along at an important time for me when i'd been recovering from illness and felt somewhat directionless. I'd heard his first album and loved it and had saved Untrue for a long train journey to the north of England. I was flat on the platform and felt a hundred year old and lonely, when 'Archangel' came on I was almost choked by the euphoria and melody of the vocal sample. The science he used on it had morphed the sample of the voice into a hymn. I played the album non-stop for months and it soundtracked all my waking hours. My moods lifted and I felt contented in silence, no longer anxious. The record has such a distinctive mood to it that I can't even see the artwork these days without getting a tingle. It follows in the same path of other important albums for me 'Unknown Pleasures', 'I See A Darkness', 'Zen Arcade'. After listening to the album the whole way through you feel transported and then you see the same anew.
Surprising Record

Arctic Flowers - Weaver

I got into Arctic Flowers during a time when I was listening to almost exclusively electronic music. I came across them by complete accident but they really reminded me of a lot of post-punk bands I liked and a lot of peace punk, death rock bands myself and my brother used to listen to as kids when we were still at home. The song writing really does it for me and there's a freshness to it that's exciting. Great interplay between all the instruments. 'Byzantine' and 'Magdalene' are already two of my songs of the year.

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