London Camden Electric Ballroom

Our rating:

[B]'Teethgrinder' [/B]and [B]'Knives'[/B] still sound toxically hormonal, while new songs  the excellent [B]'He's Not That Kind Of Girl'[/B] swamp-rocking the black lagoon, the no-sell-out bell

It’s a good joke. Asking if we want to see his impression of The Blair Witch Project, Andy Cairns pulls his woolly hat down over his ears, throws a Munch pose and looms into the spotlight like a kid with pocket torch. Suddenly remembering that it’s not actually 1993 any more, everyone laughs with fond indulgence. That’s Therapy? – drawn to the dark side like a goth to a ceremonial flame, yet as terrifying as Marilyn Manson stroking a kitten.

Usually, this would mark out a band as black-clad objects of ridicule, and certainly, next to gloom-metal Method actors doing the Stanislavsky thing with shades and smack and cigarette burns, Therapy? look like nice boys in rep at The Eastbourne Playhouse. Utterly unconvincing as anything other than an adolescent gang who like rock music and like it loud, they demand nothing of you, somehow making you all the more willing to give it. Because, while they’re fashionable as smallpox, meaningful like a can of lager, they’re also stupidly enjoyable. Sure, there’s the cutting edge out there to run along your jugular, but ‘Teethgrinder’ and ‘Knives’ still sound toxically hormonal, while new songs – the excellent ‘He’s Not That Kind Of Girl’ swamp-rocking the black lagoon, the no-sell-out bellow of ‘Ten Year Plan’ – send extra volts coursing through the slab. And when Cairns, bursting with almost tearful pride, announces that they’ll play live as long as they love it, you believe he means forever.

The zeitgeist, it went that way. It missed out.