Therapy? High Anxiety

It may be hard to believe, but this is the intense and enduring Irish band's seventh full-length and it's easily their best since 1994's Troublegum. It's probably no coincidence, then, that High Anxiety also finds them reunited with engineer Chris Sheldon, the man behind the board on that overlooked and under-appreciated alterna-punk masterpiece. Although the band's songwriting has taken a decidedly darker and grungier turn in recent years, the energy level is way up this time around. The throbbing dual guitar assault and merciless backbeats pack the collective wallop of an aneurysm while Andy Cairns' tortured howl has never sounded more purposeful. That's not to say ensuing efforts have been any less urgent or haven't rocked, but top to bottom, this one simply kills. It's still a mystery to me how these guys have remained a secret all these years, but I'm sure glad they stuck with it. (Spitfire)