x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Placebo: Battle for the Sun

A decade has passed since this band had an enchanted following; unfortunately, they haven't changed much since.

AD200910706239964AR
AD200910706239964AR

More than a decade after their heyday, expectations weren't going to be particularly high for the new Placebo album. As the diet-goth band's fan base dwindled, their music ventured ever closer to the realm of self-parody - particularly on their last release, Meds, and its predecessor, Sleeping With Ghosts. After losing their long-term drummer and switching labels, can Placebo's Battle for the Sun reinvigorate the band who once wrote such vital and captivating songs as Nancy Boy and Pure Morning? Almost. The album has an optimistic feel and the band sounds like it had a great deal of fun in the studio. There are grooves, big choruses and great rhythms from the new drummer, Steve Forrest. The singer Brian Molko has also kept a firm hold of his unique vocals. Fans of the band will laud Battle for the Sun as a return to form and cite the likes of Ashtray Heart, For What It's Worth and The Never Ending Why as evidence of this, with their ample string arrangements and layers of backing vocals. However, for many others, it will be hard not to find the group sounding dated and even a little boring. The problem is that over the past 10 years, the world of rock music has become a much more interesting place and Placebo have never really taken advantage of that. This is perhaps the best album that could be expected of them, but it just doesn't feel relevant.