Placebo have been active for about 20 years now. For some people, that's an incredibly impressive feat. For others, it's just gonna make you feel much, much older than you did before. Nonetheless, Placebo have, in those two decades released six (and now, seven) full-length studio albums, toured the world, and played higher end spots on festivals the world over. So, needless to say, there's more than a few people who have heavily anticipated the recently released 'Loud Like Love'. It's not a stretch to say that anticipation is justified given the final product here.
The album is a healthy dose of alternative rock with a strong influence from some spacey synths and electronic sounds, which give Placebo a unique sound. It's digital, yet, strangely at the same time, organic. Some tracks are built off some excellent guitar work, for a pre-dominantly rock driven sound (title track 'Loud Like Love') whereas others are built around an entirely electronic base ('Exit Wounds'). At times, it's strangely polarising, yet at others, the two co-exist perfectly.
Brian Molko certainly knows how to convey his emotions through his vocals. At times giving a very powerful delivery in the higher register of his voice ('Bosco') and at others remaining quite static ('A Million Little Pieces'), which serves the music well in both contexts, allowing the music to best convey what is going on lyrically, adding a very strong emotional level to the record.
The lyrics are at times, quite quirky. But then again, Placebo are at times quite quirky, which frankly, shouldn't come as too much of a shock to anyone that knows much about the band at all. Molko is quite often about his (and the rest of the band's) experimentation with recreational drugs. One can only imagine what illicit substances they were under the influence of though, when they wrote lyrics like, “My computer thinks I'm gay. I threw that piece of junk away.” ('Too Many Friends') or “Rob the bank! Make a joke out of dyslexia. Rob the bank! Then pick your nose.” ('Rob The Bank'). The lyrics like this actually work very well for the group though, despite what you may initially think, adding quite an interesting personality to the songs in which they're used.
'Loud Like Love' is quite a strong release, which fits nicely into Placebo's catalogue. A lot of the songs, while working very well in a studio environment, feel like they need a live atmosphere to really take off. That's not a negative point, however. More an improvement upon what is already very strong. Fans of the band and the genre should easily find themselves to be fans of 'Loud Like Love'. (Review Kill Your stereo.com)