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Placebo - Battle For The Sun Review

Scott Newman
Scott Newman

A Placebo album release can be a nervously exciting experience as they are a band with so much talent and ideas. You really do not know what to expect as each album has been so different from the last. I can happily announce that Placebo has delivered their most accessible and refreshing release to date.

I am a huge fan of Placebo. They have proved to me that you can still make lasting music to push the boundaries of song form and sound. Battle for the Sun is the sixth studio album. This is the album that defines them musically as they have been through a dark and unforgiving path to create this uplifting, electro pop and modern album.

This is the first album without long term drummer Steve Hewitt who left the band due to creative differences. Steve Forrest is the new drummer who has fit right in providing the right mix of beats to compliment Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal.  David Bottrill is the producer of the album. He has done a very good job with the three piece in getting the best out of each band member.

Battle for the Sun introduces a bright element of keyboards, piano, trumpets, saxophone (without being a sax crime) and effects. The electro sound has been carried on from the last album Meds but has been a stronger and more satisfying experience in the recording of the new album.  It does not take away the true power of guitar which has been a strength to the Placebo sound. I had found the last two releases Meds & Sleeping with Ghosts hard to get into or understand after first listen. Where this album like the first albums, Placebo, Without You I'm Nothing & Black Market Music were a lot easier to process.

The singles from the album Battle for the Sun & For What It's Worth are good selections from the album. It will be a great album to see live. There is a world tour coming which promises to be an amazing rock experience. There is sure to be at least one or two other singles yet to come after listening to the album a few times over already. There are true pop rock sensibilities to this record.

The band already has a greatest hits album out after the first 4 albums. This sometimes signals the end is nigh. In Placebo's case it was the end of an era. Brian Molko is an avid DJ who has a strong appreciation of music culture. He has made a great number of covers from Kate Bush, Boney M, Depeche Mode, The Smiths & The Pixies are some memorable bands that have been sampled. Also playing at the Live Aid festival was among a career highlight for the band. (Oh & David Bowie's 50th birthday!)

The new album is a release in which it shines as its own fresh new start. Some people class Placebo as an emo, indie, alternative, glam band. I class Placebo as a band who challenges the state of music lyrically and affixation of sound. Sure, there are androgynous undertones. This is indeed the modern era where we accept others for who they are, regardless. I like that.

I recommend this album to new Placebo listeners to introduce you to the Placebo world. The artists are perfectionists of the studio sound, the themes and ideas are predominant in each album. Often creating an un-balanced album. Well, Battle for the Sun is the balance they have always promised in my opinion. Bringing it all together.

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