Review: Shameless by Therapy? (2001)

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A lot of people hate this album. I don’t hate this album though. I think it’s great, although it does have a few dodgy moments. Cover art included.

Shameless is Therapy?’s ‘American’ album, recorded by grunge hero Jack Endino in Seattle. Unfortunately not a gamble that translated into good record sales but one that produced a good rock record nonetheless.

Do you remember that thing music people used to do in the late 90s? That thing where some of the song would sound like it was on the radio? That’s what leads us into opener Gimme Back My Brain. It’s a little unfortunate, but it’s soon fixed with a great yelp and an excellent riff. Gimme gimme gimme baaaack my brain. Yeah! It rocks. That’s all it needs to do. It’s even got a bass solo/cowbell breakdown. The fuck more do you want?

What a nice segue! Dance is a nice heavy track, that strange sort of slow that you can still boogie to a little bit. Is there a lot to say about this song? Not really, although it does feature the line ‘welcome to fuckland’, make of that what you will. Oh yeah, and the guitar solo is pretty cool too.

Whoa-oh-oh-ah-whoa! This One’s For You is one of those should-be hits. Perhaps if it had come out a couple of years later amongst all this ‘Kings of Leon’ bollocks it would have been just fine, but that would have involved conforming and being appreciated which underground society tells us is wrong.

Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends. What a beast of a lyric.

I was lucky enough to see I Am The Money performed live, one of the only times since Shameless was buried in 2002. I was unlucky enough to see it the one time Andy Cairns decided to experiment with auto-tune technology and it all went a bit wrong.

What’s really shit in this case is that we have a fucking great song with an incredible outro that’s CUT OFF on the record. The full version languishes as the b-side on some single somewhere. Wank.

For serious though, a good song, just a bit castrated.

Wicked Man is pure Iggy Pop rip-off. It’s fantastic. What the hell is a heavy metal parking lot? I don’t care. Features some classic 1960s rock organ work by some dude. Theme From Delorean has an arguably quite stupid name which is a shame because it’s one of the best songs on the album, with a great bongo fury in the middle.

Now, as much as I love this album, I can’t deny that the quality does go down a smidgen from this point. That doesn’t detract from their merit as awesome slabs of rock ‘n’ roll, but they do suffer compared to what has come previously.

Tango Romeo brings us back to where we need to be just in time for the end of the record. It does seem to be generally disliked amongst the Therapy? faithful but I think they’re all wrong. Silly lyrics, maybe, but riffs ahoy! Stalk & Slash is a real car crash of a song, but that’s how every great joy ride should end, isn’t it?

Shameless is a flawed album but the intent behind it shines through. Therapy? obviously set out to make a fun album of maximum rock ‘n’ roll and in that sense it was a great success. Perhaps it came at the wrong time, after grunge stopped being novel but before it was okay to like it again. Perhaps that doesn’t fucking matter, because it’s a fantastic record. Listen to it!

Shameless track list:

  1. Gimme Back My Brain
  2. Dance
  3. This One’s For You
  4. I Am The Money
  5. Wicked Man
  6. Theme From Delorean
  7. Joey
  8. Endless Psychology
  9. Alrite
  10. Body Bag Girl
  11. Tango Romeo
  12. Stalk & Slash
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