The Independent "Angela Lewis on Pop Music", Jun'96


by Angela Lewis

Placebo were a sure thing, huge potential stars in Indie when they emerged last year, but nothing prepares you for their debut album, a quality sparkler beyond all hopes. Songs are full of lightning energy, focus and charisma - just like frontman Brian Molko. He's the American with the male superwaif sexiness and sharpest pop lyrics since Kurt Cobain. The words to "Teen Angst", for instance, lacerate the heart with their intense imagery. "I don't really write about anything I haven't experienced, or is at least second hand from what friends have told me," explains Brian. "It's semi autobiographical, sort of saying check yourself before you wreck yourself." 

Placebo's new single, "36 Degrees" is their third, and is a superior blast of pop sorcery, like previous singles "Bruise Pristine" and "Come Home". And again, beneath the snappy tune lie lyrics of burning melancholia. "36 Degrees is close to body temperature," starts Brian. "The person concerned is a little cold bloodied. If someone gets too close, they have to push the person away. This is what the song means to me, but now it's public property, and people can interpret it in their own way." 

Placebo, like Super Furry Animals and Jack are proof real personality pop is returning to the British music scene. Gems to treasure. 

Placebo, June 2, Blackwood Miners Institute (01495 227206), 3 June Norwich Arts Centre, (01603 660352) 4 June Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (01705 863911)