Group Therapy

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It worked.
Group Therapy
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by Above & Beyond
Released 6 June 2011
Label Anjunabeats
Producer Andrew Bayer. You want credit, do it yourself; or credit your puppets.
Above & Beyond chronology
Tri-State
(2006)Tri-State2006
Sirens Of The Sea
(2011)
We Are All We Need
(2014)We Are All We Need2014

You'll need therapy from how good this is.

Track listing

Production by Andrew Bayer.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Filmic" 3:49
2."Alchemy" 5:17
3."Sun & Moon" 5:25
4."You Got to Go" 5:34
5."Black Room Boy" (vocals by Tony McGuinness and Richard Bedford) 6:10
6."Giving It Out" (featuring Zoë Johnston)Grant, McGuinness, Siljamäki, Johnston3:53
7."On My Way To Heaven" 5:58
8."Prelude" 5:44
9."Sun In Your Eyes" 4:50
10."Love Is Not Enough" 6:33
11."Every Little Beat" 6:00
12."Sweetest Heart" 3:36
13."Thing Called Love" 5:29
14."Only A Few Things" 5:02
15."Eternal" 2:53
16."Sun & Moon (Beirut Demo) [Bonus Track]" 7:24
17."With Your Hope [Bonus Track]" 4:30

Filmic

'Filmic' is an insult: films only use very ephemeral, perfunctory sounds to cattle-prod us into what we should feel. Filmic, Group Therapy, & life begin with a piano warming up the space, gathering dust, slowly thickening, leading to patterns where first there was chaos, a biogenetic, life-giving recipe.
The unassociated, almost nepenthean notes occasionally hit a sombre low, & this powers enough to make a whole song. But it does not stop there. THe violin assures us that more will pile up. & the dust keeps coming- a glassy bell gives it enough weight to finally flare up under the weight & become a star.
But that has happened many times. Only once has a planet seen life infloresce- and this is the mathematical miracle that A&B reveal to us. More piano illapses in to give a sarcastic kick to this biological broth, adding a contrarian tang that every song needs, running counter to the established funerality & brightening up the furthest reaches of the sky, & our lives. This was the cup of Acheron needed to start an album right.

Alchemy

Things quickly take a turn for the hearse. These things include the life of this album, because this is as delicious as real mercury. No more waiting until four minutes in to find out which song this is; now is past time for instant recognition. Alchemy's own electrᓅniḉ bubъling pops in your face every time, the only slick thing on display, or behind the counter. But there is no gun here, smoking or otherwise: not so much alchemical as bland & waterlike, Alchemy is closer to almond paste than black earth. The verse sections are pleasantly dour enough to pass time with, but the shift into the main tune is the elixir of death. Ironically, there's no chemistry here; the climax stirs nothing, & even the vocals are the psilosopher's stone. This bromidic block should not have been given this much attention. & that "to make love where there was none" line should have been saved for somewhere else.

Sun & Moon

Foretasting waves fade in the fast, lashing intro, sophisticating & seducting the best of 2011. Bedford's voice joins it after a moment of acapella that neatly opens the symbiosis between natural & artificial inherent to this album. The tune gathers more notes & oozes to the quiet piano solo that spells out the S&M ride, flourishing in the dulcet keys, & even breaking into a new, converse flair that outranks habaneros. Then Richard leads us to the electric tune. The climax mixess an iterative epiphany starting & concluding in crepuscule, RB, & the superterrene echoes. Another ultraplinian.

You Got to Go

You got to go above & beyond everything to succeed, & they did that with this frozen firestorm of violins & Johnston, a swirling spectrum of relaxed performance & erethist tune. ZJ hit her heights here with her vocal shift at 3:29- if it is real, then she is too. The fifteen second taste of the chordophones is a quiet lavafall, the scent alone burning the mouth. Holes in the throat come from the climax & its violin neurobatics before & after. The glacierfall particularly captures this faultless quake.

Black Room Boy

BRB is particularly focused on lyrics, more than any other Anjunabeats song. Not only do they sound front & centre, but they have far more variety & detail to them. Let's see how well they did. It's in second person. The first part is simple. 'You' are online & drink caffeine. I only just now learnt what 'DIKU' stands for: 'Do I Know You?", which would take the same amount of time to say as it would unacronymised. Thankfully, there's never a lyric as insulting as that ever again on this label, but I'm watching out. However, the second part is just as challenging. I don't think that many people wear their father's rings, were left by their parents, or decide to not have mobile phones, especially not music fans. So the lyrics are unendurable, before they're understood, & after they've been deciphered. At least we have the song. Sadly, the lyrics are particularly difficult to ignore, but tuning out is easy for music listeners. The first verses are only tremulant, not standing on their own, but easing the journey, with a lessened version of the final result. The first chorus hits the first event of the whole song, lifting the motion to fast walking. At least the entire song is appropriately black. No-one could confuse this for a smiling ditty. The second verse brings it back down to swimming speeds with mildly windingly-shaped vocals. Chorus #2 foreshadows acceptable music. BRB is not very stylised. The synth is not worth mentioning. The echoing, hollow hits are the one memorable style choice, & even then, it's just an echoing hit. 3:33 brings us to the first attention-worthy trespassing of norms that BRB can muster: the tune does not change, or improve in any way, but this presentation is better than the awkward lyrics: it is a firmly rocketing hovership that cannot touch the ground, accelerated & accentuated by an equally dissociated guitar marking the real notes. At 4:03, we learn the difference between 90% of the speed of sound & 99%: we get grounded again & pounded for the first time. THis time, the robotic, futurist style actually matters & counts for something. This solitary tube of a magnet train is a nuclear battery per se, ie it would burst energy even without the wothless tune. BRB perfectly suits the background of a party, not its main event. Which is where you've heard it before, in the background of a plastic surgery/botox party on a Season 7 episode of psych.

Giving It Out

Have you ever seen your dog kill a baby? Because that would also be jarring. This is unequivocally & indisputably the low point of Anjunabeats. At least in Alchemy & Love Is Not Enough, it sounded like AB. Bad Anjunabeats, but AB nonetheless. This is the most irredeemable pop trash ever published on this label. It is distinctly unnerving how Zoe Johnston's British voice, so elegant and so beloved, can be used for something so gutterful & debasing. This remains the lowest that any AB artist ever sunk, just for that complete unprofessionalism. I don't hate the mainstream, GIO is just unbearably made before, infinity times, as most EDM has been too, except that EDM is not in films or radio. Spine: racked.

On My Way To Heaven

One of the very few songs that I know more than a word of, & it isn't even a protest anthem. This is not about getting old & dying, but more about the heaven we can see & imbibe. The tune makes that very clear when we teleport to heaven ab initio: at 0:00, no journey, no time spent like a stolen credit card, not a second is spared for preparing us for this intro that strips the first four words away. The lyrics work well about exploitation, with an expendable, unlimited populace forced to accept a state that is always right. All this against a violin, the sphericest instrument, though vocals match. There is no such wait for the viol spasm, no prelibation, no pregustation, no set-up for the grand opening of heaven's gate. The compass had barely been set heavenward when we already arrived. Now to explore, & conquer. Their way is the snare way. Their way is The Sky way. Like the clouds sending out a few wisps before the arenaceous vastation, the monotone sculls rippling in the dead-air doldrums are from our Ur-DNA, leading up to RB's pinnacular vocal supremity. Whenever you see a "Dub Mix", remember this song, and Phoenix From The Flames. His every word hangs from a web we cannot see, especially since the lyrics mean something, unlike most (A&B) songs. The climax is not just a boosted version of the pretext, as in most music, but all-new vocal expeditions and appetitions, diving into uncharted oceans & their unmapped basins, meeting the odd animals, & serving them up on a plate of auroplatinum. The title is not pretentious, though. The early switches, just before the next bar, up into smooth madness, reddening and violeting, break into a new ultrasanity. Thank you for life, A & B.

Prelude

Throwaway & goaway electrogarbage starts us off. It goes away after a couple of minutes, having contributed nothing whatsoever; & the final air metal does not make up for it. 2:10 introduces us to a heaven more concentrated than Mauthausen: a piano caressed by someone who can use it. Leaving Kamchatka-sized gaps, the piantro disobeys its own respectations to elude expectations, & denounce the previous path for one travelled somnially, a refractory insurrection, Jesus artfully flipping tables, no money in this temple, just ůberwhelming timecliffing. The raw bread & meat of the climax is a longer-sustained burst, & the piano skyfully returns to fulfil our lives. No protention can befit this paranormal intrepitude.

Sun In Your Eyes

Sadly poisoning AD05, this desolate jewellery box is a chest of the one melody over & over again, feeling interminable & incessant even though it rarely repeats in reality. SIYE is the worst malady I've had the pain of paying for twice. It rises as slowly as Mons Olympus does, & feels as oxygenated. Four hours & fifty-one minutes is a terrible time to waste, so avoid this painfully bleeding callus if you can. Neither the piano nor the excruciating 'Shake That Laffy Taffy' instrument result in a tolerable time. Even back in 2011, technology had progressed to the point where the starting features of a program would make you sound professional. Even actual sun in your eyes doesn't make skin crawl away.

Love Is Not Enough

The sixth of eight singles from Group Therapy was the worst. Sweetest Heart. Eternal. Only A Few Things. These could have been stars. But instead, this fetid deepity was spotlighted & magnified by remixes. The only respite in this Zyklon alphabet is the tuneless perbounce that leads us up to the temple, & reappears at 2:28. Funky & punchy, this thumbtack pillow is too good for this hard blather. There are countless ideas in LINE, none of them substantive. A flea would starve on this piano. Some things should just be reworked, until they sound human-generated. Such as the violin, which skims in & out differently to any other song, & still adds nothing. When your innovation is less interesting than grass growing, you must start again. Hard. ZJ's vocal tortions are anaesthetic per se. Rare.

Every Little Beat

The preception. The inception. The spark that would make the Sun. The deprecating title antithetes even the opening instant, a singular, singular violique starting in depth & sinking to fuligin. Verses always detract from a song, but here, it's less waterlogged, since RB's scheme places more desserts in our faces until we can finally dig in. It digs deeper than a South African mine, the silken piano abrasiver than a steam hammer made of razors. The refusal to acoustify is unforgivable. This olorine hyperflagration deserved more than one remix & a translation. Byssiner than Thing Called Love, this unimproveable aorta of adrenaline heralded the eighteen-winged giant that was A&B. At the end, they get another inkling of threeativity, but they thankfully cut that out in time for the close.

Sweetest Heart

This is peak AB. A&B have no real musical identity, but this is good too: SH slowly builds up to a forlorn riffface, never dropping, only dipping slightly, until the whole bank is spent. The first sinkage is a chilling depression of spicewater, wide open space, visible to all predators. The sound of agoraphobia is a boneripping anticipation- and the conclusion does not disappoint.
This flock of superphotic jets keeps bobbing, but even though the deviations are never massive or obtuse, the overall iliad is thickly drenched by prevernal daggers. Winter knives are the best neurodisiac.

Thing Called Love

Music is meant to blind with distress. Vocals are meant to ingrain, not by earworms, but with woes, though I do like woahs. TCL slams you into the mood with the same fuscous note hitting away at misery, the sole note using its solitude to convey the vocals & their lyrics as well. Bedford & his tenderness raw up the piano, both elegiac orthophonies on the climactic trance, a luminescent album-warmer.

Only A Few Things

This is chillout's guiding leader. OAFT is five minutes of sound stripped barer than Tunguska's trees, woven in vocals that are worth the ironcladventure in se. These psychropaths[1] take it only to a place where sound can be held, where nothing can overwhelm except the inherent pleasure of the tune. Acoustic III: Die Harder would never include this. The tune never changes: it's a sordidly pondered piano minefield of cravasses. Antarctica is cold, too: all these endless gaps & spaces between notes give OAFT its outer space feel, with such chilling distance between things. It is caustic in small ways: the third sixteenth of this 16-bar tune rightfully roughs up the smooth flow, while the last part cynically drops into a placid feel that ironically burns up what was going on before. Halfway through, a Laffy Taffy-style synth comes in & trashes the natural, professional, respectable, tolerable feel of the song with its entire being. What it does for the tune is margaritic, enough to overcome the plain horror of the disgusting instrument itself. The real pinnacle of OAFT is easily 3:46, where Zoe Johnston puts her voice to good use & digs deep under Syrtis Major for what can only be named & engraved in marble as her finest hour, an aggressive, biting, real, jabbing marathon swim through mayonnaise-thick dihydrocapsaicin. Without her, this would be forgettable. Thank you, ZJ & friends.

Eternal