Noise Therapy weren't signed because they satisfied a record label's insatiable thirst to find more of the same-sounding bands to fill radio waves. Noise Therapy weren't signed because they've got a cute story that's sure to make MTV audiences squeal in high-pitched, hormonal overdrive. And no, Noise Therapy weren't signed after months and months of construction and manipulation to perform songs that they didn't write, and can hardly play.
Noise Therapy were signed because they made such an indelible mark on the musical face of their Canadian homefront, they could no longer be ignored by the rest of North America. The Vancouver, British Columbia five-piece earned their deal the old-fashioned way, winning audiences over throughout the Great White North, and transforming crowd upon crowd into new legions of followers. They had three Canadian releases in less than five years, criss-crossed their country in a van, and honed their trade in the seediest bars and clubs America has to offer. They won followers with a live show that shook the very foundations of modern rock and roll, and have evolved into the most dynamic and explosive unit to emerge from the glare of their Northwestern scene.
Enter Redline Entertainment, the newfound home of seminal superstars Pete Townshend and Prince. Unlikely company? Maybe at first glance, but not when you examine the core of Noise Therapy's infectious sound and explosive sonic infrastructure. "We listen to everything from metal and hardcore, to hip-hop, electronic and punk," says founding bassist Rob Thiessen of the band that has been his heart and soul. The results are a sound that is as melodic and enchanting as it is rhythmic and adrenalized, charging forward with a maturity that few bands of the modern era have been able to embrace.
Opening track "Get Up" is a powder keg poised to explode, a bobbing and weaving litany of guitar-driven jabs and lyrical follow-through. A throbbing bottom end propels "G-Hole" as a melodic wall of vocals are hoisted atop the mix, while "Far Away" sets adrift with an electronic kickstart amidst a penetrating guitar groove that sets the tone for the 10-track American debut. "What I think, what I feel, has got control of me/What I feel, what I am, is taking over me" belts frontman Dave Ottoson on "Far Away," and that could easily be the Noise Therapy mantra, whether plunging the interpersonal-depths of the band's lyrics, or just examining their place in America's vast musical landscape.
"We're looking for a cohesive sound, but we want different styles in that sound," continues Thiessen. "We're not scared of trying different things, and we're not scared of people saying that something doesn't sound like Noise Therapy-it all sounds like Noise Therapy, and it all came from the same place."
In the case of Tension, the band's Redline Entertainment debut, the songs were tapped in a musical place uninhibited by genre-lines, and unscathed by outside forces. They were hand-picked by Motley Crue to open their reunion tour in 1999, then, following a one-year sabbatical while guitarist Kai toured with Tommy Lee's Methods Of Mayhem, Noise Therapy regrouped in early 2001 with a new creative spark, and a renewed focus and vision. "When we got back together after that year, Kai had a newfound musical confidence, and the two of us started writing together more," says Thiessen. "We decided we wanted the sound to be more heavy, with more dynamics." So they entrenched themselves in Ottoson's rehearsal studio for the summer, and came out with three dozen songs that they took into the studio with longtime friend and production guru Mike Plotnikoff [KISS, Fear Factory, Cranberries]. Joined behind the controls by a team including Yes keyboardist Igor, John Cougar Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic, and former Frontline Assembly and Fear Factory manipulator Rhys Fulber, the results were an album as addictive as it was corrosive.
"It may seem like a weird mix for making a heavy record, but good music is good music, and we wanted people who've been doing this for 20 years challenging us, telling us what we could be doing better," says the bassist, who has co-production and writing credits on the Columbia Records debut of fellow Vancouver natives Flybanger. "This time, it was a lot more of a band effort, and a lot of these songs really didn't change from when we were in the studio-They helped us with the icing, a chord here or there, rewriting a couple of bridges... But none of these songs were written in the studio."
At the forefront of the onslaught is "Inside," a riveting propulsion of guitar-driven energy and vocal elasticity, penned from the perspective of "killing yourself to live," and surviving in a world that eats the underdogs for breakfast, and spits them out by lunch. The intensity is unmistakable, which has led to the band's close ties with the extreme sports community, including a Spring 2002 performance with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk's Birdhouse production. "We've got a crazy live show-there are always a lot of injuries onstage, bodies getting thrown around and people going crazy," says Thiessen. "Canada knows our reputation as a live band, now it's time to show America."
With Tension as their springboard, let the Noise Therapy begin...