Monday, 1 June 2009

Review: Placebo - Battle for the Sun

"Battle for the Sun" is Placebo's sixth proper studio album, a strong follow up of their rather poppy album "Meds", which was received by both fans and critics with mixed feelings. Their new album is a departure from the more electronic based sound and a fine return to the classical alt-rock style for which the bands has been numerously praised.

This is the first album to feature new drummer Steve Forrest, who took the place of Robert Schultzberg, and which some fans considered as a sign for an eminent change in Placebo's style. For good or for bad Forrest has really brought a change, which to me is quite positive. "Battle for the Sun" sounds as a whole, with clear structure, adequate emotional balance and almost no fillers. The album demonstrates a heavier sound with the prevail of loud and emotional drumming and the fast and determined guitar riffs back and forth.

Molko has done some improvements of himself demonstrating more complex lyrics with a clearer message in them. Of course, the puns and the riddles are present and nothing is ever to be understood to its fullest when Brian is the one responsible. The topics are various from substance abuse to emotional battles through personal doubts and search for new experiences. He has done quite a fine work with the writing and the majority of songs are thoughtful, clever and provoking with a pinch of wit and playfulness.

"Battle for the Sun" definitely surpasses "Meds" by quality and easily matches by diversity and complexity "Sleeping with Ghosts" and "Without You I'm Nothing". The chosen up to now singles "Battle for the Sun" (promotional) and "For What It's Worth" (official) are not the best pick-ups but demonstrate the exquisite variety offered by the 13-song track-list.

Songs to hear: "Kings of Medicine", "Ashtray Heart", "Breath Underwater", "Julien" and "For What It's Worth"

Personal rating: 8 out of 10