Two years ago, when Therapy? played Liberty Lunch, I sat for an hour at the feet of singer/guitarist Andy Cairns while he howled a mixture of pleasure and pain up into the mike like Lemmy Kilmister. In his sky-blue eyes was the same look found on the face of saintly icons: pious vulnerability.

By contrast, this Belfast trio's third full-length on A&M, Infernal Love, could only be called obscene vulnerability as Cairns spews out lines like, "Your lips like bruised vulva/Your Ass like Jesus' feet/Worth Kissing." Being Irish and playing witty, profane hard rock must garner Therapy? their share of comparisons to Thin Lizzy, no?

"No," says Cairns from a Holiday Inn in Lawrence, Kansas. "Surprisingly not. They usually ask us about U2, or the Cranberries, or Stiff Little Fingers, or the Undertones." Taking a day off from the Ozzy Osbourne/Filter tour, Cairns sounds glad to be asked about Thin Lizzy. They are European legends after all, though Cairns -- like many -- is at a loss to explain why they never conquered America like UFO or the Scorpions.

"I think they were ahead of their time," he says. "Judas Priest and others were more black and white; motorcycles, leather. There was always a bit of mysticism surrounding Thin Lizzy."

Not surprisingly, after 7 years of panzering around the world, a similar mystique now surrounds Therapy? It's that Thin Lizzy duality: Pain and pleasure, Sin and virtue, Dark and light. The same duality found in Cairns' current home of Dublin, where a cease-fire ended in February. Protestant vs. Catholic. English vs. Irish. War and Peace. Where does duality merge into one?

"Apart from Ash and Joyrider, the biggest scene in Ireland is dance music. In places of unhappiness, people try and escape through music. Dance music (and ecstasy) is a way of escaping it." Does this mean...

"No, I like the more experimental end: Underworld, Orbital. I like Tortoise. Being in Europe is being surrounded by cheesy dance pop. Here, you turn on the radio and hear Boston -- earnest Yank rockers." Sorry. "No, most of my favorite bands are American: Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Replacements -- and new bands like Rocket from the Crypt and Supersuckers."

Funny. U2, Thin Lizzy, Therapy? Most of my favorite bands are Irish. -- Raoul Hernandez

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