Review: Placebo

““Black Market Music””

This is music that will become your DNA.  Placebo is one of those bands that can be considered timeless.  The music is one second indie rock  and the next poppy and Cure-ish. The arrangements are very inventive, in the sense of Bowie or PJ Harvey.  “Spite & Malice” features  Justin Warfield (of the band Tape) rapping the old slogan “Dope, guns, fucking in the streets”. “Commercial For Levi” is a beautiful childlike lullaby warning the listener about “Coke & Ecstasy” and pleading, “Please don’t die”.  There is a haunting piece about voyeurism (“Peeping Tom”), a “love” song about ketamine (“Special K”)  and the first single (“meant to confuse” says singer Brian Molko) “Taste in Men”. The latter starts with a beat influenced by Paul Oakenfold.  Molko’s Michael Stipe meets Geddy Lee vocal style is a refreshing voice in the days of post-Nirvana, angry suburb white kid heavy metal.  This album is the perfect blend of everything good about rock n roll.  Placebo’s debut album was released in 1996. Since then they have appeared in the film “Velvet Goldmine”, opened for David Bowie at his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden and have supported U2 on many European Popmart tour dates.  All this while headlining their own shows all over the world. In 1999, Placebo recorded a new version of “Without You I’m Nothing” featuring Bowie on vocals.  This album will not disappoint fans of Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop and PJ Harvey.  Placebo has a sound that is unique, dark, happy, sober and intoxicated. In a perfect world, this will be a number one album and sell millions. Known as a band notorious for sex and drugs, “Black Market Music” is a realization record. Do we have a wiser, older, just-say-no  Placebo on our hands?  Nah…they just  realize they are in it for the music.