by heavenstomurgatroyd USER (7 Reviews)
October 6th, 2012 | 15 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's life in the old dog yet...

It's been a while since Placebo have really shone. Meds featured some of the band's most interesting work marred by some rather uninspired filler material, and Battle For The Sun was almost cringeworthy in places. That was over three years ago, and whilst it seems a let-down to only have 5 tracks to show for it, surely this means that the few tracks we do get to hear must be something pretty special"

In fact, only four of them are even fully fledged Placebo songs. I Know You Want To Stop is a Minxus cover (y'know... Minxus), and quite honestly it's hard to see why it's included here other than as filler. It's not a bad song, the chorus part actually features some nice lead-guitar licks, but it's considerably weaker than the self-penned material and that leaves it feeling more than a little... pointless.

It's rarely a bad thing when the cover song is the worst on the album and the four remaining tracks actually stand up very well. They portray four very different sounds- B3, uplifting and expansive; The Extra, stark and melancholic; IKWYL, dark and sinister; and Time is Money, slow-building and relaxed. This variety is equalled by the quality, even managing to put in a 7 minute album closer that doesn't drag. The songs feel tight and well-formed, never outliving their welcomes or becoming repetitive.

The guitars, whilst obviously not rivaling the likes of Hendrix, really serve to bring alive the rockers of the group, whether in the huge wall of distortion that lets Brian Molko's voice soar in the title track, or in the shoegazey textures and old school U2-esque lead parts that make IKWYL that much more immersive before it really explodes. Only Time is Money suffers a little on this front, offering little more than some fairly standard chord strumming, although Molko's performance and strong overall songwriting do make up for it and it rounds the EP off nicely, if not with a bang.

Whether it was in the overtly bombastic title-track, the ill-advised video game music segu├ęs, random handclapping interludes, or the hideous intro to the otherwise decent Julien, Placebo seemed to have abandoned subtlety on Battle For The Sun, where the experimental touches that embellished previous albums were inserted by sledgehammers. It's to their credit that they seemed to have regained some self-control, and so the unusual sonic palette and vast layered sounds in the background of The Extra serve to enhance the mood an already emotive song instead of destroying it with kitschy sound effects or by rendering it overwrought. It's things like this that make it feel like they've really taken time, effort and thought to bring out the best of the songs.

Overall, it still stings a little that we'll have to wait until next year for album number seven. That will have made it ten years since the band last put out something great, and if the rest of the material they've been working on is as strong as some of this, then perhaps this time they have a chance to reclaim some of their old glory. For now, we're left with a mostly-impressive EP that leaves a good feeling in its wake.

Recent reviews by this author
Guano Apes OfflinePlacebo Loud Like Love
Flights FlightsKittie Funeral For Yesterday
Love Amongst Ruin Love Amongst RuinScarling. Sweet Heart Dealer
user ratings (46)
other reviews of this album
dupuisj8 (3.5)
'I try everyday to think of something deep to say...'...

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 6th 2012


always had a soft spot for Placebo, will check this out, pos'd

October 6th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

Forgot this was coming out, love Placebo.

Good review, though I think you're a little harsh on some of their more recent records. Have a pos.

October 6th 2012


I stopped bothering with Placebo after Battle For The Sun. They'll never top Without You I'm Nothing ever again.

October 6th 2012


I love asking that question so much: what's your buzz with "BFTS"?

October 6th 2012


"what's your buzz with "BFTS"?"
The Placebo (most of) the fans knew and love became happy, bombastic, implemented trumpets (if I recall correctly). The dark, melancholic, soaring rock with Brian Molko's nasal vocals had been traded in for an Arcade Fire-esque sound with vocals that now sung the story of a quest for happiness.

Oh, and that album was rewarded with an MTV-award. Laughable.

October 6th 2012


Yeah, that's also my favourite answer

October 6th 2012


pretty fun EP, hope they revisit the more upbeat, driving sound they had on WY,IN on the next album.

Digging: Tripsitter - The Other Side of Sadness

October 6th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the feedback people! i thought this was going to be shit, how glad i was to be proven wrong.

October 6th 2012


"The guitars, whilst obviously not rivaling the likes of Hendrix, really serve to bring alive the rockers of the group,"

Damn it, was hoping they'd have a Purple Haze-esque track on this one!

October 6th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

would have easily been 4.5 if so! XD

October 7th 2012


So is there still a full album on the way? Or is this EP it for now?

I always forget that I really actually quite love Placebo.

Digging: Devin Townsend - Empath

October 7th 2012


Shit, new Placebo? Fuck yeah I'm gonna check this out. Hope they come out with a new album soon. Battle for the Sun was disappointing as a whole but it still had some really great stuff.

October 8th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

This sounds much better then Battle For the Sun, that was just repetitive as hell. I disagree with what you said about Meds however, I think that was their best album by far.

October 13th 2012


Could be if it was not for all the filler and that "generally pissed-off" quality wears off as fast as "generally happy"

November 14th 2012


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I completely agree with bakkermaarten007. It feels like Placebo are making records now because they just can't stop,

not because they want to. It's music for masses, almost on level of My Chemical Romance or 30 Seconds To Mars: easy

to listen to, upbeat, but hollow.

Oh, and I hate the stupid title. You read it and already know that they're completely different band then when they

recorded their masterpieces. Change is not bad, but only when it's in the right direction...

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy