Record review: Placebo – Loud Like Love (2013, LP)

PLACEBO_LOUD-LIKE-LOVE

They may have been around since 1994, but Loud Like Love is – somewhat surprisingly – only Placebo’s seventh studio album, and first full-length record in four years. So, are the English alt-rock veterans growing old gracefully, or making musical fools of themselves? The answer is a little bit of both, as this ten-track album has some good moments, and some pretty bland filler. In the first few years of their existence the band had an edge that quickly smoothed out after the turn of the millennium, and they haven’t again hit the heights of tracks like ‘Pure Morning’ or ‘Teenage Angst’. In saying that, there are some solid tunes here; the title track and piano and strings-led closer ‘Bosco’ being good examples, but for every good song, there are two bad ones. Lines like “My computer thinks I’m gay, I threw that piece of junk away, on the Champs Elysées” on ‘Too Many Friends’ show that frontman Brian Molko is still primarily milking the subjects of blurred sexuality and alienation for lyrical content, and his flat attempts at social commentary on tracks like ‘Rob The Bank’ leave him wide open to criticism. His addition of spoken-word lyrics on ‘Hold On To Me’ seems like an attempt at some sort of Tolkien-esque middle-earth fantasy, and the electronic elements on ‘Purify’ are a little grating. Die-hard fans of the band might find a fair bit to like on this latest addition to Placebo’s catalogue, but it’s not an album you’ll likely to still be spinning in the coming weeks and months. (Universal)

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