Northern Irish rock outfit, THERAPY? announce their colossal new studio album ‘Hard Cold Fire’, a spiralling, hypnotic melange of grunge-rock and towering melody that sees the trio steadfast and reinvigorated. ‘Hard Cold Fire’ is set for release on 5th May 2023 via Marshall Records.
Accompanying the announcement, the band also shares their first offering in the form the riotous new single ‘Joy,’ and details on a run of intimate UK in-store dates coinciding with the album’s release.
Resilience and survival have become vital watchwords for Therapy?. Enduring over three decades as the musical, cultural and social landscapes have shifted around them, the trio have forged and retained a powerful and lasting connection with a dedicated fan base around the world, doing so by putting their emphasis on the music, solidifying a hard-won reputation as forward-thinking writers and a fierce live proposition in the process.
As Therapy?’s fourth decade finally gets underway in earnest, sixteenth album ‘Hard Cold Fire’, written and pre-produced during an unprecedented time for music, is hefty, compact, and accessible, a distillation of everything that has made them what they are – hewn from County Antrim basalt, still possessed of their stoicism, but casting a renewed focus on catharsis and healing.
“One thing we did decide when we were eventually able to rehearse, was that we didn’t want to make a lockdown record,” says vocalist and guitarist Andy Cairns, “because people have been through enough.
“When we began to rehearse the songs, we realised there was an empathetic quality to them. We wanted to make something that was a bit more relatable, and less standoffish and claustrophobic – which we have a history of, and it stands in places – but we wanted to make something more approachable and open.”
“We wanted this album to be one that felt good to play live, almost a release after this period of stasis, but then also not dwelling on the whole situation – we’re moving forward, and we wanted that energy to be there,” adds bassist Michael McKeegan.
The serrated, chugging riffage, churning low-end and propulsive rhythms that are hallmarks of the band’s sound are all present and correct, but met with a new-found sense of resolution and release, as most readily displayed on the one-two punch of their first single, ‘Joy’.
“Well, ‘Joy’ started with a term from ‘Waiting for Godot’, by Samuel Beckett,” confesses Cairns “this wonderful line: ‘habit is a great deadener’. I just love that word, ‘dead-en-er’. It’s an amazing word. People get themselves into these habits, and the next thing you know, their life is over and they’ve only lived in a very small circle of experience, often through choice, which is scary.”
Check out ‘Joy’ – BELOW:
Working once more with renowned producer Chris Sheldon (Feeder, Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters), a consistent good-luck charm for Therapy? dating back to 1994’s breakout album Troublegum, the band decamped to the newly opened Marshall Studios in Milton Keynes toward the end of 2021, working furiously to put the album down in its final form.
“We know Chris. We’ve got a similar mindset, a similar outlook in life, a similar sense of humour,” McKeegan says. “It works well, and it’s a very easy, collaborative environment. There’s no agenda to making the album, apart from ‘let’s make this absolutely brilliant’.
“He’s excellent at getting the performance out of you, knowing when to push a bit harder, knowing when something doesn’t need to be over-complicated. There’s an enthusiasm and a connection with him that really does bring something to the band, and to the vibe we have together.”
While ‘Hard Cold Fire’ represents the next milestone in the band’s ongoing journey, it sits at the front of a long body of work, veering between noise-rock, discord and sparse, groovy experimentation, and million-selling, mainstream-friendly pop and noirish, cinematic vistas.
For long-time fans, this new offering will reward an attentive ear in terms of musical flourishes and Cairns’ trademark lyrical substance, but as a finished product, the band has set out to create something that stands alone, and ‘Hard Cold Fire’ achieves just that.
“There’s a reinvigorated feel to the band, as though things are moving forward,” adds drummer Neil Cooper. “I’m very excited about people hearing this. It’s not just about turning up and performing. Everyone’s so invested… we’re unbelievably lucky, some bands don’t get that privilege, and I appreciate that. We’re in a fantastic place.”
‘Hard Cold Fire’ will be released on 5th May 2023 via Marshall Records. Be sure to catch Therapy? live on their in-store run this may. Tickets and more information can be found HERE.
UK IN-STORE DATES
8th – Bristol, Rough Trade
9th – Nottingham, Rough Trade
10th – London, Banquet Records
11th – Oxford, Truck
Tickets – HERE
‘HARD COLD FIRE’
1. They Shoot the Terrible Master
4. Bewildered Herd
5. Two Wounded Animals
6. To Disappear
8. Poundland of Hope and Glory
10. Days Kollaps
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