Placebo - Loud Like Love - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Placebo - Loud Like Love

by Greg Spencer Rating:7 Release Date:2013-09-16

It's hard to believe that Placebo have been doing their thing for almost 20 years, and Loud Like Love is their seventh full-length album. That said, this record feels like putting on a nice and comfy pair of slippers; there isn't anything too radical here that you wouldn't expect from Brian Molko and co.

The album opens with the title track and it's a solid start. There's the sinister distorted piano that's part-melodic and part-'Taste in Men'-style in it's undertones. But Molko sounds as boisterous as ever, his vocals boom out and you can just imagine him in the recording studio belting out the verses in total bliss. Ever since Steve Hewitt left the band and was replaced by Steve Forrest, the band gained a different type of energy, even if Battle for the Sun wasn't up there with the best Placebo albums. With Forrest, the band sound slightly unhinged in a strange sort of way. Whether this is a good thing is a personal preference really.

We hear Molko's honesty on 'Hold on to Me'. He sings: "I'm knee deep in sinking sand/ crying out for your attention". There's real pain here by the sounds of things and, with Molko's voice being as fantastically visceral as it is, the song really benefits from the instrumentation taking a backseat and just letting Molko's vocals breathe.

'Rob the Bank' is a fairly weak effort for a band of Placebo's quality. It feels like it could be an album track from Black Market Music or, even worse, a b-side. It just sounds lazy lyrically, especially since it follows 'Hold on to Me', which shows the best of Molko. Unfortunately, the track doesn't really go anywhere. It's upbeat but it doesn't make you want to move like the best up-tempo Placebo numbers.

Straight after that disappointing effort the band pull out 'A Million Little Pieces', which is beautifully effortless. Molko's voice is so emotive, when he tells us "I'm leaving this worry town/ Please no grieving/ my love", we believe him and every line strikes a chord. It's a gorgeous song on an indifferent album which is the great shame. We all know how amazing Placebo can be, how sinister they can sound or how they can make us cry but this album only offers up a snapshot of the quality that they've delivered over the years.

The album ends with a couple of six-minute tracks which both leave you wanting more but at the same time leave you a little cold. It's an odd feeling. Maybe the album will grow after the third or fourth play but after listening to the album twice over, you're left shrugging your shoulders because you know you've heard better. When the next Placebo greatest hits comp comes along, there won't be much of Loud Like Love on there.

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