- 25 Mar 22
Eighth album from ’90s goth-pop combo.
Much of Placebo’s eighth long-player was written and recorded pre-pandemic, but rather than rush it out, Brian Molko (vocals, guitars) and Sterfan Olsdal (bass) decided to take their time.
Indeed, Molko entirely rewrote the lyrics to three songs, while they replaced the programmed rhythms with live drums, courtesy of long-time touring sticksmith Matthew Lunn, as well as Pietro Garrone from London-based Italians, Husky Loops.
Despite being around for over two years, Never Let Me Go sounds anything but tired. Indeed, the triple-whammy of ‘Forever Chemicals’ – which starts with a distorted harp sample – the cascading synths of the infectious ‘Beautiful James’, and the bruising ‘Hugz’ is as strong an opening salvo as you could wish for.
The songs are still heavy on the goth-rock, but Molko’s voice sounds more wistful than sneery on the string-laden ‘The Prodigal’; the eco-anthem of ‘Try Better Next Time’; and the dreamy ‘Chemtrails’.
Conversely, it’s the softer songs, like the piano-driven ‘This Is What You Wanted’ and the slow march of ‘Fix Yourself’ where he is at his angriest, particularly on the latter, as he decries “I’m bored of your Caucasian Jesus.”
There’s the occasional mis-step, like the spoken-word ‘Went Missing’, but this is a stirring statement of intent nonetheless.