As it turns out, it's rather telling that not far into their career, Placebo made a memorable appearance in Todd Haynes' 1998 David Bowie roman a clef/glam rock homage Velvet Goldmine as a sinewy band clearly invented as a stand-in for T. Rex. In the years since, the members have shown little interest in branching out into broader areas of pop, ...
As it turns out, it's rather telling that not far into their career, Placebo made a memorable appearance in Todd Haynes' 1998 David Bowie roman a clef/glam rock homage Velvet Goldmine as a sinewy band clearly invented as a stand-in for T. Rex. In the years since, the members have shown little interest in branching out into broader areas of pop, and have instead focused largely on the passionate goth niche they originally carved for themselves, relishing Marc Bolan-esque cult status rather than pursuing radio-friendly superstardom. And indeed, this single-mindedness has rewarded the band with a devoted fan base -- one that went so far as to start a viral campaign to celebrate lead singer/songwriter Brian Molko's 40th birthday in 2012. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Placebo's seventh studio album, 2013's Loud Like Love, will certainly appeal to the band's longtime fans more than to casual listeners. That being said, the release is among the group's most accessible material, even if their tendency toward goth romance and arch fantasy are still very much intact. Produced by Adam Noble, who has worked with a variety of artists including Haley Westenra, the Guillemots, and Paul McCartney, Loud Like Love has a sonic warmth that helps buoy Placebo's often melancholy songs. Along with the warmer production, there is a maturity and long-form dramatic tension to many of the songs on Loud Like Love. To these ends, we get the jangly, R.E.M.-sounding title track, the anthemic moodiness of "Too Many Friends," and the slow-burn power ballad "Hold on to Me." Many of these songs play like less-alienated, if no less paranoid, OK Computer-era Radiohead cuts. However, the songs here are still laden with Molko's high-pitched vocals, which he characteristically uses to play the eternally angst-ridden and alienated teenager -- something the band's fans will surely appreciate. [A Deluxe Edition added a DVD of live material.] ~ Matt Collar, Rovi
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