Love Amongst Ruin: So Sad (Fade)
Words: Gareth O’Malley
Branching out is hard to do. Just ask Steve Hewitt. The former Placebo drummer left back in November of 2007 due to ‘personal and musical differences’. Musical differences? Perhaps he didn’t like the direction they were going in with ‘Battle for the Sun’.
We can’t blame him all that much if that was indeed the case. The angst-rockers have been on a steady decline since 2003’s ‘Sleeping With Ghosts’, and ‘Battle for the Sun’ is by far their worst record to date, a pastiche of everything they once did so well.
He’s spent the better part of three years working on new material, though, and in an unlikely transformation has swapped the drum stool for the mic stand, becoming the frontman of Love Amongst Ruin, a sextet that also consists of Donald Ross Skinner (co producer / guitarist), Steve Hove (lead guitar), Laurie Ross (cello, keys and percussion), Teresa Morini (bass) and Keith York (drums).
Their debut album is ready to go in a few weeks (September 13th) and ‘So Sad (Fade)’ is the first single to be lifted from it. The cynics could say ‘oh, this sounds exactly the same as his old band’. We’re not hearing it at all. For starters, Hewitt's vocals are much more bearable than Brian Molko's nasal whine. LAR bring a heaver and less polished sound to the table, too, the song being anchored around a huge, grungy riff.
When combined with a stadium-sized chorus, ‘So Sad (Fade)’ takes on a freshness that Molko and company sorely lack. This isn’t a reinvention of the old by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly a rejuvenation, and the best Placebo-related track since ‘Follow The Cops Back Home’. That’s high praise.