Infernal Love (Deluxe Edition)

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The album. Infernal Love is a strange fruit. At the time of release (1995, just 1 year after the uber-accessible Troublegum) it seemed to be a deliberate departure from their previous effort. It jettisoned most of the metal and youthful anger and replaced them with more thoughtful (and much darker) lyrics, electronic interludes (courtesy of David Holmes) and a load of cello (from future full member, Martin McCarrick). Needless to say this probably displeased some of the Kerrang reading element of Therapy's fanbase (it also got a 5 star review in Q magazine which is probably a mixed blessing). I have to say, I saw Therapy just before this record came out and that performance (which took in much of IL) remains one of my favorite gigs ever. I loved the album too, so its a relief that after returning to it in 2014 it has aged pretty well, although this is more to do with the strength of the song-writing rather than any changes in style. The album's peak comes early with what, on paper, is a somewhat depressing trio. "A Moment Of Clarity" breaks from a David Holmes collage / piano snippet into a bare-bones guitar intro and powerful bombastic chorus. "Jude The Obscene", should have been a single, it's actually a surprisingly uplifting tune with a beautifully simple guitar solo and spine tingling bridge. "Bowels Of Love" is pure tortured brilliance and one of the many places where the cello is perfectly at home. It's darker than dark with lyrics that come from the deepest recess of Andy Cairns already quite disturbingly poetic brain ("...you took me / Naive and ugly / Into your festering heart / And you poured Eros maggots down my throat / Until I choked"), "Screamager" this is not. Later on, "Loose" stands out as the only blast of joyful, no strings (figuratively and literally), semi-hopeful pop that the album can muster. An then there's "Diane", a Husker Du cover which I believe Grant Hart slagged off upon hearing it (I can't find the quote but i seem to remember it being a tad harsh). That won't bother you if you have no knowledge or interest in the original (as I didn't at the time of release). Lyrically, its very direct (which Therapy? can't really take the credit / rap for) and very disturbing, and McCarrick's cello is particularly prominent giving the cover a sentimentality that maybe Husker Du or Hart didn't particularly like. The record ends on a swirling high though with "30 Seconds", another darkly hopeful tune which slips in and out of tune and in an out of fury/joyfulness. An uncompromising double to end an uncompromising record.  The extras. There's only two original b-sides included from the period which probably indicates that the band were creatively exhausted after 2-3 years of relentless output. "Our Love Must Die" from the "Loose" single is definitely the best of the tracks, a country jaunt which was possibly too bouncy to feature on the album. "Nice Guys", on the other hand, is a dated and generic number which was rightly excised to b-side purgatory. "Loose (Photex Remix)" is the most inventive remix on these 2 re-issues, heavy on ambiance, dub and drum n bass and not feeling the need to shoehorn in bits of the original which blatantly wouldn't fit. What the band did instead was fill Infernal Love's three UK singles with loads of acoustic and live versions. "Jude The Obscene" is the only acoustic track that really makes the transition from full electric, perhaps even surpassing the original. They say that the sign of a classic is if it can be played on an acoustic guitar. I don't necessarily believe that, but it does bring home the fact that "Jude The Obscene" is a great tune, and one that's perhaps under-rated. You can't go wrong with Therapy as a live band so the live stuff is an entertaining, if not a particularly mouth watering, addition. The verdict. Brave and ambitious, Infernal Love is also an album that probably doomed the band to chart exile on subsequent releases, but for open minded ears this is THE Therapy album to own.

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