Like almost everyone who is aware of Placebo, I discovered them right around the time they blew up following an appearance on the soundtrack of the movie Cruel Intentions, the Sarah Michele Gellar/Ryan Phillippe/Reece Witherspoon movie from 1999 that prominently featured “Every You Every Me” on the soundtrack.
I remained interested in the group for a couple of years – I really enjoyed single “Taste In Men” from their post-Intentions record Black Market Music – but lost track of them as the 2000s moved along.
Never Let Me Go is the first album in almost nine years for the group – now a duo, following the departure of drummer Steve Forrest – and is being billed as a return to form. For myself, I found myself taken back to that earlier stuff. Beyond the nasally vocals of Brian Molko, Never Let Me Go finds the group in their familiar alt-rock/industrial-pop wheelhouse. Opening track “Forever Chemicals” is slightly too lengthy but it rocks, and leads into “Beautiful James”, one of my favourites.
Elsewhere, the group wedges in social consciousness (“Try Better Next Time” being one of the most obtuse examples) and self-awareness (“Sad White Reggae”). But it doesn’t distract from the quality on display. My favourite track here is probably “Twin Demons”, a bombastic industrial-tinged rock track that is one of the groups best, that I’ve heard anyway. Good album, this one.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.