The lyric video for “Wreck It Like Beckett”, the new single from Northern Ireland rockers THERAPY?, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band’s 15th studio album, “Cleave”, which will be released on September 21 via Marshall Records. Roughly themed around notions of duality and division, the band’s follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed “Disquiet” — and their first recording for Marshall — is a sharply focused, fiercely intelligent, impassioned and empowering set of songs from a band operating at a creative and artistic peak. A scathing, incisive state-of-the-nation address, investigating the schisms in contemporary society and the motivations of those seeking to propagate disjuncture, it’s a powerful, challenging, uncompromising collection from a band never afraid to confront and dissect humanity’s darkest impulses.
Frontman Andy Cairns stated about “Wreck It Like Beckett”: “This song originated with Michael. He told me he had a riff which reminded him of ‘She Watch Channel Zero’ by PUBLIC ENEMY and he sent me over a bass riff, a guitar riff and a drum beat. I thought the riff was incredible, and so we chopped it up in the rehearsal room, to make it more stop-start, like [classic THERAPY? tracks] ‘Knives’ or ‘Screamager’, and that really worked. Lyrically, it’s about trying to start anew. The reason that [Irish playwright and poet] Samuel Beckett is referenced in the title is that each time Beckett began a new project he used to imagine that he was sitting at a desk and could swipe his arm across the desk to clear away all the sheets of paper so that he could make a fresh start. This is a song that sets the album up as a new chapter for THERAPY?”
From the thrillingly propulsive assault of “Wreck It Like Beckett” via the addictive “Callow” (the album’s first single, out now) and the unsettling “I Stand Alone” to the disquieting, bleakly beautiful “No Sunshine”, the ten tracks which make up “Cleave” coalesce to paint a portrait of a fractured, dislocated world rent by unprincipled, mendacious masters.
Cairns is justifiably proud of the unified drive and restless creativity evident in this powerful, questing collection and says this about the forthcoming opus.
“I know that we can be a difficult sell, because we have no particular niche and no desire to conform,” he admits, “but THERAPY? have always been the kind of band that when people discover us, they immerse themselves deep and keep us close to their hearts. We’ve never been part of a trend, so we’ve never been cast aside when fashions changed.
“‘Cleave’, to me, is THERAPY? at our most focused. I love our more experimental side, but I also love that this record sounds like it was made by a band who’re all reading from the same script and moving forward with the same determination and hunger.”
“We’re living in a time riven by conflict,” Andy Cairns states baldly. “You look at what’s happening in the United States at present, what’s going on with Brexit in the U.K., with North and South Korea, with Palestine and Israel, and it’s impossible not to see turmoil and turbulence. Some of these conflicts have been going on as long as I can remember, but they seemed to really reach a head again around the time we were writing the album. ‘Cleave’ is our response to the divisions we see all around us.”
Cairns credits producer Chris Sheldon (FOO FIGHTERS, BIFFY CLYRO, FEEDER), who worked with the band on 1994’s “Troublegum”, 1998’s “Semi-Detached” and 2003’s “High Anxiety”, for keeping the band fixated upon delivering their new material with maximum impact, streamlining arrangements and stripping away extraneous fat, setting aside ego in service of the songs.
The result is one of the most formidable, provocative and impactful albums of THERAPY?‘s storied 29-year career, once again proving that the band’s pre-eminence as one of the U.K.’s most inventive, fearless and individualistic musical artists.
Andrew James Cairns – Vocals/Guitar
Michael McKeegan – Bass
Neil Cooper – Drums
Photo credit: Tom Hoad