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Albums Reviews

Placebo

Battle for the Sun
Four stars
PIAS/EMI

Key Tracks: ‘Kittly Litter,’ ‘Speak in Tongues’

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Deepti Unni Jun 21, 2009
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“It’s an album of hope and optimism,” said Placebo frontman Brian Molko of their latest effort Battle for the Sun, leaving fans concerned that the band might abandon their dark and depressive sound and sing about flowers and bunnies instead. It didn’t help that Steve Hewitt, Placebo’s drummer of 11 years quit and was replaced by tattoo-heavy 22-year-old Steve Forrest either. But the fans needn’t have feared. Molko is still signing about the agony and ecstasy of love and the cheeriness is probably more perceived than obvious. Album opener ”˜Kitty Litter’ is ostensibly a love song, but the dark guitar lines and Molko’s menacing wail could well become the theme song of a stalker. The menace continues on ”˜Ashtray Heart’ a jump-and-shout love-hate song. ”˜Battle for the Sun’ is more of a crowd-pleaser, a return to the Placebo sound that fans have grown to love but the rest of the album showcases a different band from the depression-pushing, wrist-slitting Placebo of old. The B-side is where the surprises are. Molko tries his hand at epic balladry in ”˜Come Undone’ and ”˜Happy You’re Gone’ and almost succeeds, his plaintive wail quavers and breaks over heartfelt rhythms given life to by Stefan Olsdal. But the real treat is Forrest ”“ he seems to have tapped into the heart of the band, knowing exactly when to let his sticks do the talking and when to play it subtle and let Molko and Oldsdal take over. This is Placebo like we’ve never seen them before ”“ burning, blazing on all guns and rewriting their own track record.

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