Feature /// Placebo: New Beginning

Placebo-2013

For Placebo releasing their seventh studio album ‘Loud Like Love’ was more than simply putting out a new record. The album marked a brand-new beginning for the band, who had gone through an important rebirth, which found its reflection in everything concerning ‘Loud Like Love’.

It took Placebo two stages to complete ‘Loud Like Love’. The split was more likely unintentional and pushed the band, took them out of their comfort zones, which turned out to be a real blessing in disguise. The beginning of the record was almost accidental. In order to challenge himself as a songwriter and to see how he can work without other guys, Brian Molko started writing songs in a new way. Aiming to do something different from what Placebo usually do, he put some restrictions on his songwriting, one of the main ones concerning the use of distorted guitars.

Later, when Placebo went to the studio to record some singles without any intention to work at a full-length, they got so involved in the process, that the decision to carry on recording was made and that’s when Brian’s songs came in handy. That was how ‘Too Many Friends’, ‘Hold On To Me’, ‘Scene Of The Crime’ and ‘Rob The Bank’ made the first bulk of the songs for the album which was finished when Placebo returned from the tour.

The thing that strikes straight away prior to even listening to ‘Loud Like Love’ is very bright artwork, absolutely atypical of Placebo. Only the cover alone inspired by psychedelia in all its forms and viewed through a modern prism hints that something in this band has changed. New lifestyles and attitudes found their reflection in the sound as well. Placebo pushed themselves even further in this field and went for richer, more diverse instrumentation most notably with the piano making a massive appearance. In a way the band softened the rough edges of their angst-ridden sound making it smoother and more instrumental. The risk was well justified as ‘Loud Like Love’ presents absolutely new Placebo sound: vulnerable, led by the elegant melodies and very beautiful in its essence.

Revolving around the topic of love, the record looks at the notion in a typically Placebo way. Don’t expect Brian to write about unhappy love like depressed emo kids do. His view on heartbreak is dark and poignant, dwelling on obsession, jealousy, lack of human contact. His usually witty lyrics are as sharp as always and as provocative at times as they can possibly be. At the same time the band don’t impose any messages or views on their listeners, but give them 10 personal stories and let people connect these stories with their own life experience.

‘Loud Like Love’ represents Placebo in a way you’ve never heard them before. Even though at the beginning you might feel alienated to their new incarnation, the new sound eventually grows on you and makes you remember why you love Placebo in the first place: just because they can make really good music.

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