Track Of The Day: Placebo
It’s a big name for today’s Track Of The Day. Ian Fortnam brings you all of the reasons why you need to hear this brand new (and completely free) Placebo track! Click here for previous Tracks Of The Day.
It’s a reinvigorated Placebo that you’ll hear exploding from the title track of their forthcoming fifth album Battle For The Sun. Since the release of Meds in 2006, Brian Molko has taken some brave decisions in order to breathe new life into the 10 million album-selling, three-man monster he initially unleashed with ‘95’s Bruise Pristine single, and on this evidence they’ve never been stronger.
During the stadium tour promoting Meds, relationships became strained within the band leading to an emotional parting of the ways with Steve Hewitt (Placebo’s drummer since 1996). In order to counteract any feeling of jadedness that Brian and long-time collaborator and bassist Stefan Olsdal might have felt, they recruited 22-year old Californian Steve Forrest from former support band Evaline. Every aspect of the band’s professional life that was familiar to Molko and Olsdal was exciting and new to their rookie drummer and as a consequence his infectious enthusiasm helped refresh the entire process (both touring and recording) for all concerned.
Secondly, when the band’s contract with Virgin expired they decided to self-finance Battle For The Sun and, by releasing the album via different licensing deals in each country, retain ownership of the record. The music business is changing rapidly, and being entirely autonomous seems to work well for Placebo.
“I’m very optimistic about the future,” Brian says, “I’m in a positive frame of mind and a good head space. It’s very exciting. There’s a lot of life in the old dog just yet.”
Fine words indeed, but is this stratospheric level of optimism actually warranted?
On Tuesday 17th we were summoned to a fourth-floor rehearsal studio located on an industrial estate in South London, and the new line-up of Placebo, augmented by a keyboard/violinist and two guitarists, proceeded to blast out the majority of their new album (out in June) for our delectation. A proper full-scale production rehearsal witnessed close-up is an awesome spectacle at the best of times, but with Placebo on this form it was simply stunning. Steve Forrest, on the tattoo front pretty much half man-half ink, showcased his percussive talents magnificently, Stefan (referred to by Brian as “The glue that keeps this band together”) switched to guitar on occasion, while the addition of violin adds yet more depth to the increasingly dense wall-of-sound that the band have developed over the years – most recently with Battle For The Sun’s producer Dave Botrill (Tool) and final mixer Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, NIN). Brian, looking healthy, seemed relaxed and chatty throughout, and finished off proceedings with a dazzling assault on Nik Kershaw’s guilty eighties pleasure Wouldn’t It Be Good.
So, it seems that Brian Molko’s positive outlook is not without foundation after all.