Of all the bands who existed twenty years ago, it is perhaps surpising that Placebo are still a going concern. This is the band who created anthems called ‘Teenage Angst’ and ‘Nancy Boy’, after all and – for many – will forever be associated with a particular era and demographic. After 1998’s brilliant and mature ‘Without You I’m Nothing’, their star appeared to be on the wane at the turn of the Century but a long recording gap seems to have reinvigorated Brian Molko and co. for their latest album.
There is a sense of reassurance when the title track opens up with a supercharged burst of guitars and percussion, followed by Molko’s eternally bruised vocals which have gained a certain richness over the last few years. ‘Scene Of The Crime’ is a muscular, driven song and – proving the relevance of the band – there is an on the money, state of the nation song about social media called ‘Too Many Friends’ (“Too many people and I’ll never be there for”). Backed up by the satisfyingly chugging ‘Rob The Bank’ and the hooky and stylish ‘A Million Little Pieces’, all appears to be well in Placebo world. Admittedly, despite plenty of production heft, a couple of songs struggle to linger in the memory (‘Purify’, ‘Exit Wounds’) but the skittering beats of ‘Begin The End’ and a reflective ‘Bosco’ help to restore the quality of the first half of the album.
‘Loud Like Love’ is a slick and largely flab-free album, containing a number of tracks which will sit proudly alongside their classic anthems for future set lists. Proof indeed that Molko can also speak to a considerably more mature audience after all those years of making songs for the disaffected youth.
Pine For Cedars