Review 1129 : Placebo – Never Let Me Go – English

Placebo announced a new album, nine years after the previous one.

Created in 1994 in England, the band moves around Brian Molko (vocals/guitar/piano) and Stefan Olsdal (guitar, Hotel Persona), the two core members. Expected since the announcement of composing revival in 2019, Never Let Me Go is out in 2022 at SoRecordings.

The band plays on stage with William Lloyd (bass), Nick Gavrilovic (keyboards), Matt Lunn (drums) and Angela Chan (violin/keyboards/choirs).

Even if I only came late to the band (and I was definitely wrong), all their albums didn’t have the same reception from the audience, and that was a right reaction. While the band begins by experimenting into a haunting and melancholic sound, unveiling some depressive, raw and always very dark reality, Placebo reached the peak of their art with Meds, released in 2006. The vivid decay and the Post-Punk sound was more soaring and seizing than ever before.

And that’s what we like from Placebo, their ease to create simple and really hooking riffs, to feed an as weighing as dancing veil, fueling a contrast between joyful sonorities, heady riffs and this alternative androgyne visual. Even if the sound became more flat, more automatic, the musicians just found what was the soul of their music, the keystone of their tones, the secret element to make their identity. The twangy voice is still as recognizable, even under this curtain of rhythmic saturation which turns sometimes out to be soft and mesmerizing, sometimes more haunting and dissonant, but it delivers its message with deepness. We also notice some images in the lyrics which could make us smile, but which are only hiding the world’s reality, the same we explore every day. Whether the band chose to announce its album with Beautiful James, a very hooking song which confirms this comeback with great fanfare, we will also notice Try Better Next Time and Happy Birthday in the Sky, respectively the third and fourth singles, but also the haunting Forever Chemicals, with which the album is opened, and above all Surrounded By Spies, a composition which sustainably settles in your mind by unveiling those bewitching progressive sonorities.

Everybody knows Placebo. A contrasted music, a recognizable sound whatever you like or hate it, and above all an inimitable identity. With Never Let Me Go, the band shows us we were right to wait for them, and that they didn’t lose their haughtiness, we thought lost forever. A rebirth.


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