"Placebo say sorry sober on Loud Like Love record", Sep'13

Kathy Mccabe
September 12, 2013

YOU can hear it in Brian Molko's voice. Placebo's seventh record Loud Like Love packs an even bigger emotional punch from an over-the-top British trio who have always aspired to the epic.

Their ambitions for the record have been signalled by the genre-busting video for lead single Too Many Friends, a collaboration with author Bret Easton Ellis and the innovative Loud Like Love TV show, a 90-minute live stream hosted by YouTube next Monday.

These alt-rock giants have not only survived the cruel winds of musical fashion to reach the seventh album milestone but also their own lifestyle choices.

Molko says his vocals on the album are the first he has ever recorded sober.

"I was certainly a lot more present when I recorded vocals for this record," Molko says.

"I have had quite a notorious, chequered past in terms of lifestyle choices and I used to pride myself on the fact that I never recorded a vocal take for Placebo without being under the influence of a certain herb which grows naturally on the planet."

"This is the first time I have recorded the vocals clean and sober. So not being in a narcotic haze may explain why it sounds more emotional."

Molko agrees the songs are his most confessional he has written.

He hasn't thrown out his social conscience with To o Many Friends, remarking on our social media obsession, and Rob the Bank, taking aim at the offensively rich.

Yet it is interpersonal politics and apologies for past wrongs that dominate Loud Like Love.

Often the musical conversation within the bombast of the music is so intimate thatleaves the listener feeling voyeuristic.

"I could see that," Molko says.

"And I did want to establish that kind of connection with the listener."

"Everything on this record is, to a degree, autobiographical and I think I am getting better at writing that, at creating a small fiction based on real events, real emotions."

The album's closer Bosco epitomises Loud Like Love's musical and lyrical intent.

It is a massive song that Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest believe pushes the Placebo sound into the stratosphere.

Olsdal's classically trained piano skills come to the fore - his playing anchors almost every song on the album - and the frontman credits his musicianship for Bosco's soaring ambition.

Fused with Molko's straight-from-the-heart lyrics and emotional delivery, it is a song to inspire forgiveness from the broken-hearted.

"It is probably the most honest I have ever been in a song," Molko admits. "It's a process of catharsis andabsolutely and very much directed at one person in particular."

"You can write as many songs as you want to make amends to people you have hurt in your life but truthfully, the only amends that count is the living amend. It's how you behave in the future."

Loud Like Love is back to the future for Placebo, recorded in the same studio as their 2006 album Meds but this time assisted by demos they created on their phones and tablets while touring in support of 2009's Battle For the Sun.

Molko believes there is something magical about a band's seventh record beyond the fact that it's a celebration of survival in an industry where an artist's shelf life is dictated by their last hit single.

"It's a lucky number. What do they say? If the devil is six and god is seven, this one has gone to heaven," he says, referencing ancient numerology and the Pixies song.

"Bands like REM, Depeche Mode and The Cure all made watershed albums which very much existed outside of fashion."

"After 15 years of doing this, you can stretch a bit while relaxing into who you are."