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Placebo - Battle For The Sun

Placebo, Battle For The Sun

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WITH a 13-year history that takes in five studio albums, Placebo are set to return with their first new album since the release of Meds in 2006.

Battle For The Sun, their sixth studio album, was recorded over three months by producer Dave Bottrill in Toronto and mixed in London by Alan Moulder, who has previously worked with Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. It’s an edgy, fresh and alive album marking a whole new era for a band that were in need of a change.

After Meds, the band’s relationship had become strained and an emotional split with drummer Steve Hewitt led to replacement Steve Forrest.

“We were looking for somebody whose enthusiasm could rub off on us,” explains lead singer Brian Molko. “Someone who would experience all of these things that we’d already experienced for the first time and for their excitement to raise us up out of our jadedness and make us into kids again.”

I’ve always been a fan of Placebo’s music but their last album Meds left me feeling unfulfilled and empty so I was a little apprehensive of Battle For The Sun.

However, after hearing their current single, For What It’s Worth, it felt as though they were going back to their roots, yet still managing to expand their boundaries.

For me, this album is an improvement on their previous effort; it opens with the highly promising Kitty Litter and is followed by the equally strong Ashtray Heart.

Current single For What It’s Worth and title track Battle For The Sun are by far the best tracks and hark back to earlier singles, while simultaneously seeming to be tied up with a tidier bow rather than the rawness Placebo had before.

From there, the album takes on a more slow sound from Devil In The Details onwards – - not that the songs are all slow-paced!

All in all, Battle For The Sun is a very listenable album and far more enjoyable than Meds. The “shake-up” appears to have done them the world of good as they have come back refreshed.

Brian’s voice will always be one of my favourites and I hope Placebo continue to grow their sound. If Brian’s comments are anything to judge by, it looks as if they will.

“I’m very optimistic about the future,” he concludes. “I’m in a positive frame of mind and a good head space. It’s very exciting. There’s a lot of life in the old dog just yet.”

Download picks: For What It’s Worth, Battle For The Sun, Kitty Litter

Track listing:

  1. Kitty Litter
  2. Ashtray Heart
  3. Battle For The Sun
  4. For What It’s Worth
  5. Devil In The Details
  6. Bright Lights
  7. Speak In Tongues
  8. The Never-Ending Why
  9. Julien
  10. Happy You’re Gone
  11. Breathe Underwater
  12. Come Undone
  13. Kings Of Medicine