Outburn #21 "Sleeping With Ghosts", summer'03

Sleeping With Ghosts
10 out of 10
by MJ Hopkins

Dark Electro Pop-Rock: There's no denying the potent power of the sugary sweet Placebo. After reaching international super-stardom through the huge success of Black Market Music and their irresistible "Special K" single, Placebo are back with their gorgeous fourth album, Sleeping With Ghosts. Their energetic mix of rock, electronics, and pop sensibilities, along with their more serious approach to the lyrics, exploring love, relationships, and their lasting effects, make for a dramatic and heart-felt album. The heavy yet upbeat instrumental "Bulletproof Cupid" opens Sleeping With Ghosts with a powerful guitar melody, setting an intense dark atmosphere. The high-pitched distinctive vocals of charismatic frontman Brian Molko then drop in with spine tingling results on "English Summer Rain." The sincere and vulnerable title track shines with a quieter sound and more somber mood, while the powerfully melancholic "The Bitter End" provides an emotional climax. The gloomily sulking "Something Rotten" stands out with it's slow psychedelic experimental dub aesthetic, while the monolithic guitars and strong vocals of "Plasticine" provide a pleasing contrast. Each of the 12 songs here could easily be a single; they're all that good. With the power pop and raw emotions of Sleeping With Ghosts, Placebo have clearly staked their claim as the new alternative rock gods taking over for The Cure, R.E.M. and Depeche Mode in the new millennium.