Boston Herald "Placebo Effect Being Felt Even In The U.S.", Jul'06

by Dave Wedge

For the past decade, Placebo's dark, ethereal alt-rock has topped the charts in England and made the British band a household name there, not to mention a favorite of David Bowie. 

Americans have been slow to catch on, but the band feels that's changing. "It kind of feels like something is finally happening for us in the States," bassist Stefan Olsdal, a native of Sweden, said the day after playing a sold-out show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. "There's something more exciting here this time." 

With a phenomenally haunting new CD, "Meds," and a headlining theater tour that hits the Roxy in Boston tomorrow, the arty indie rockers are finally getting a dose of American success. Also on the bill is She Wants Revenge, another buzz-band fronted by Justin Warfield, an enigmatic California outcast whose acid-laced hip-hop rhymes became the stuff of underground legend in the mid-1990s. 

It's a perfect edgy pairing for Placebo, whose music is just bleak enough to separate the group from the latest wave of British invasion pop bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Snow Patrol. "Meds," which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Heat Seakers chart, is Placebo's fifth, and perhaps best, album, fueled by androgynous frontman Brian Molko's creepy tales of addiction, despair and broken relationships. 

"In principle, we feel the more personal song we write, the more universal it gets," Olsdal said. "It's very personal but at the same time, they're just stories. We like to keep it quite open for people to live out their own interpretation." 

Some tracks are quite specific, such as the droning "In the Cold Light of Morning," a biting diatribe on the horror of awaking from a drug binge. There's splashes of punk and industrial rock mixed into the cocktail and enough hooks to satisfy the most desperate craving, although the subject matter is heavier than usual radio fodder. 

"We feel quite blessed to have an art form to express the things that we go through in everyday life," Olsdal said. "There are so many aspects to life, so many things. Like, what's the purpose for being here? You're born and you die. What's that about? But we also have optimism and hope." 

And right now, the hope for Placebo is to conquer the United States. 

"We still feel we have something to prove to this country," Olsdal said, "that we're a great band; that we still have the fire burning. We still have something to say. The day that we start repeating ourselves or have nothing else to say, that's the day we stop."