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On September 16, alternative rock band Placebo released its seventh studio album ‘Loud Like Love,’ following the release of the band’s 2009 album ‘Battle for the Sun.’
On the current music scene, there is hardly a band that has such a distinctive sound as Placebo. ‘Loud Like Love’ really sounds like Placebo. It does not perpetuate the same exact path drawn with ‘Meds’ and ‘Battle for the Sun’, but even with some adjustments to the sound, it has the band’s name printed on every of its momenta. As many of the band’s albums, the new record gets better with every listen. Although, after the first listen, an inexperienced Placebo listener might be left confused and not completely convinced; after a couple of more listens, even a non-fan can be completely conquered and fascinated by the album’s sound. Placebo fans, on the other hand, will recognize the spark from the first listen.
The record opens with the track that also hands it its name, “Loud Like Love;” Brian Molko’s magnetic voice makes a statement of love, hope and strength, dancing across the track with his voice and a guitar that plays over the perfect and powerful executions of drummer Steve Forrest and bassist Stefan Olsdal. Like a painting of two lovers holding each other, the sound produced by Olsdal, Forrest and Molko perfectly merges with the latter’s hypnotic vocal performance on the entire album.
The record presents several of the usual themes proposed by the British band, such as sex, drugs, despair, disappointment and hope, all related to the main protagonist of the album: love. A few newly introduced issues are present as well, as in the lead single of the album “Too Many Friends,” for instance, where Placebo explores the theme of social media over-exposure and alienation.
In terms of sonorities, the album is multifaceted as well. Remaining on alternative rock ground, which characterizes the band, Placebo creates vertigoes of sounds that seem to run through and intersect each other on every track, while keeping their individual qualities. This creates a bigger flow of energy that encompasses everything that is expressed in the record. In that sense, the album is overwhelming.
Bright songs, such as “Loud Like Love,” dance along with the dark and enigmatic soul of “Hold on to Me” and the anxious and mysterious “Scene of the Crime.” The delicacy of “Bosco” and the pain of “Begin the End” walk hand-in-hand with the lust in “Exit Wounds” and the strength of “Purify.”
The album as a whole is a refreshing re-assurance of the fact, that innovation does not mean corruption when it comes to Placebo’s sound. Placebo, on its part, confirms to be a band able to stay faithful to itself without becoming boring and repetitive. If followed chronologically, Placebo’s discography seems to live of its own life. It seems to follow the same development a man’s soul could have, shaping its personality around its inner self while opening its deeper heart to new ideas and attitude aimed at self-improvement.
Once again Placebo shows to be a band that clearly cares enough about music to keep an astonishing level of quality in every project it undertakes. A band that is an artisan of the music, instead of a mere user of it.
Rating: Excellent 4/5
Image credit: Placebo via Facebook