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Placebo, ‘Battle for the Sun’ (Vagrant)

“I need a change of skin,” cries Brian Molko on “Kitty Litter,” the lead track of this London trio’s sixth album. And along come veteran alt-metal producer David Bottrill and upstart California drummer Steve Forrest to heighten a glam-punk bombast that lost its exoticism when mainstream emo did it bigger, with a better profit margin. Lacking lyrics as memorable as 2006’s Meds, Battle for the Sun is heavier but duller, with the gap between Molko’s spindly melodies and the fatter, newly Americanized riffs widening. These Maybellined mavericks have now become followers.

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