Placebo - Loud Like Love
'Teenage Angst' is touching 20 years old, but you might be surprised to learn that Loud Like Love is Placebo's seventh album. The alt-rock band's outsider anthems 'Nancy Boy', 'Pure Morning' and 'Taste in Men' ruled the playlists of eyeliner-drenched Brian Molko wannabes in the late 90s, so what now the fans - and Molko himself - are all grown up? Following 2009's Battle for the Sun, which layered brass amongst the guitars, the new album continues to play to the band's strengths for a solid, if unremarkable, effort.
Angst is all but shed for the opening title track, where Molko advises us to "breathe, believe" atop guitars that are captivatingly sky-scraping as opposed to grungy. It's an early peak and much of the rest of the tracklist is simply the band doing what they do best: propelling their way through rock anthems tooled for stadiums. There are new flourishes, such as the 'it gets better' spin of 'Too Many Friends' ("My computer thinks I'm gay / I threw that piece of junk away") and some stirring orchestration such as the final stretch of strings on 'Hold On to Me'. Molko remains a distinctive voice and one of the band's primary powers (unless you find it a bit whiny, that is) while the likes of 'Rob the Bank' and 'Exit Wounds' show that sometimes there's no harm in only inching forward if the choruses are catchy, the guitars are as loud and the built-in angst ripe for a new generation.