Thursday, July 25, 2013

Artist of the Day: Placebo

It might seem out of place for a site such as ours to feature a band who have so obviously passed their peak, but for many people Placebo remain a genuinely big deal. There's a reason for that too; namely that for more than a decade the London-based, but essentially multicultural trio were all but untouchable within their field. Ok, sexually ambiguous post-glam alt-rock was hardly a niche many specialised in, but it nevertheless was one which brought Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt huge success, especially on mainland Europe where they were - and to an extent still are - bona fida superstars. Much of this was due to the consistently superb string of singles they reeled off right from their emergence in 1996, but they also made a habit of backing them up with rock solid LPs, with serene yet sinister sophomore Without You I'm Nothing perhaps the pick of their achievements.

Unfortunately, recent years have been a struggle by comparison, a decline almost certainly triggered by Hewitt's surprise departure at the tail-end of 2007. Citing personal and creative differences, the situation was likened by Molko to a painful breakup, asserting "there simply comes a point when you realise that you want different things from your relationship and that you can no longer live under the same roof, so to speak," and although replacement Steve Forrest has proved himself competent there's little doubt the shuffle has been detrimental. Sadly, fan's fears have been presented in audio form ever since, with 2009's Battle For The Sun and last year's B3 EP both marking a noticeable dive in quality - if not an entirely disastrous one. If anything, however, signs ahead of September's full-length return Loud Like Love appear even more bleak; its lead single "Too Many Friends" aiming high with themes of technology and social decay, only to miss the mark wildly with a series of lyrical black holes. Hopefully my pessimism is misplaced. It would, after all, be a huge shame to lose such a distinctive, and in some quarters underrated, outfit to the jaws of mediocrity and irrelevance.


Loud Like Love is released on 16 September

Official website

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