While Placebo’s new album, Battle For the Sun, may be their sixth, this is still an album of firsts. Since their split with Virgin Records, the alt-glam three piece has decided to go it on their own, self-releasing this album. It’s also the first album featuring new drummer, Steve Forrest, former member of Evaline, who opened for Placebo on their 2007 tour. This is also an album of new beginnings.
As per famously androgynous singer, Brian Molko: “We’ve made a record about choosing life, about choosing to live, about stepping out of the darkness and into the light. Not necessarily turning your back on the darkness because it’s there, it’s essential; it’s a part of who you are, but more about the choice of standing in the sunlight instead.”
Pretty damn odd for Placebo. This album still has all the sex, drugs, and low self-esteem of an angsty 15 year old, but it has some highly experimental tracks for the UK trio, as well. The album opens with “Kitty Litter” and “Ashtray Heart” (the short-lived original moniker of the band), aggressive tracks reminiscent of the earlier days of their self titled album or Sleeping With Ghosts.
The title track, “Battle For the Sun” has the repetitive quality of a children’s nursery rhyme or a patty-cake poem. When I first heard it, I wasn’t a fan, but after giving this album a few listens, it’s quickly growing on me. This album is certainly missing the electronic aspects of Meds, but in favor of full string compositions and a little more class.
There’s a few tracks on here, like, “For What It’s Worth”, “The Never Ending Why”, and “Breathe Underwater” that make me think of the glam rock/hanging out with David Bowie era of Placebo history. Big drums, big choruses, and a little more eyeliner.
They do also have their moodier, darker tracks, like, “Kings of Medicine”, “Julien”, and “Come Undone” for long-time fans. Despite those tracks that may ellicit self-mutilation, this album does have some incredibly peppy sounds for Placebo, like, “Happy When You’re Gone” and “Bright Lights”, which sounds straight from a Killers album.
This album, while not my favorite of Placebo’s, is pretty damn good! Brian Molko makes me all swoony, I can’t lie. B