Friday, June 19, 2009

Placebo - "Battle For The Sun" CD

Placebo's place in the pantheon of dark indie rock circles has been thoroughly cemented. They've played with admirer David Bowie, been featured in the glam-rock docu-drama "Velvet Goldmine", had UK hit singles, and found a comfortable fan base of disaffected, tortured souls. This long-awaited follow-up to their fine "Meds" album of 2006 should please most fans, though nay-sayers will quickly turn a deaf ear. Vocalist Brian Molko's trademark nasal, androgynous delivery is instantly recognizable, and his angst-filled, sometimes self-destructive lyrics will strike some as contrived, pretentious, and possibly whiny. I like it, personally, as I think Placebo have found a unique voice in rock, speaking to the people who live around the edges of popular culture, from junkies and freaks to anyone who's had their heart broken or lost everything. The music is skirts the lines between 80's synthpop (listen to 'Bright Lights'), 90's indie rock (think Pixies and Nirvana), and a hint of electronica along the edges. "Battle For The Sun" is a solid album, full of self-questioning lyrics and moody music. The title track brings in climactic strings for an orchestral kick, and the harder-hitting 'For What It's Worth' will rock in the group's live show. But it's just not a step forwards for the band, and seems less 'dangerous' than past efforts. It's not their landmark album, and there's no instant classics, but I'll be giving it a few more spins to let it all soak in. (Vagrant)

Placebo site

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