Therapy? fits with punk bands that defy the true essence of punk. The songs seldom last more than three minutes, the lyrics are "anti-establishment" and the numbers are fast-paced, with the beats-per-second fast enough to be called punk.
However, the band's music is too polished, and this defiance is criminal to the very essence of punk. Troublegum is a Therapy?-styled punk-insolent record -- and it is the best punk record of the '90s.
Troublegum is definitely not a groundbreaking record. It will probably have minimal impact on the future of rock music. But, it is inventive. Even though punk music is all about the angst and very little about musical innovation, Therapy?'s style of refining the rawness of punk music and still maintaining the punk edge makes Troublegum special.
Therapy? has not gone out of its way to be daringly innovative. It has just made the best use of its heavy metal influences, fusing the poppy elements of heavy metal music into the tight abruptness of punk. Metal music -- more specifically music by the '80s hair bands -- has always had an attractive side, with inspiring solos and easy-to-remember choruses. Troublegum has exactly these two elements packed in each of its three-minute-long punk numbers; the rest is just awe-inspiring musicianship. Troublegum is one of the few albums where a three-piece act sounds like a full-fledged five-piece force, and the fine production work makes this happen.
Therapy?'s adept mixing of hair metal and punkish arrogance and quickness, along with the neat production, has the record sounding almost like a dance album without synthesizers. Troublegum is filled with the goodness of foot-tapping energy, and though punk inherently is not designed to be sophisticated or systematically danceable, Troublegum is.
If non-conformance is what punk is all about, then Troublegum is true to the core -- it is non-conforming to the norms of punk.