"Placebo singer goes androgynous"

NE News, Sep'96

Northeastern News

25 Sept 1996

by Nicole Clowes

When first listening to Placebo, a new alternative band based in England with members from America and Sweden, you might think they sound like just another bunch of druggie punks trying to call themselves musicians. The sound is heavy and the lyrics are next to impossible to distinguish. During a second listen, however, their debut album almost grows on you.

Placebo just released their self-titled album recorded in London. They're about to begin their first tour in the United States, with a mere eight cities lined up. They will open for a yet-to-be determined band on another tour after this short tour.

Placebo bases its "Everything stinks, but what are you going to do about it?" image in attempts at dark, poetic genius lyrics similar to Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor's.

"Since I was born I started to decay / now nothing ever goes my way," from their most potential hit "Teenage Angst" is typical of the lyrics through out the album. Dark, yes: poetic, no.

The music makes Placebo a little bit more worth the listening. It is surprisingly up-beat and quick-paced, offering a pleasing contrast to the subject matter of lyrics.

Placebo's first video premiered on MTV's 120 minutes two weeks ago. A bidding war between record companies has increased awareness of the band. Brian Molko, the band's vocalist, guitarist and resident transvestite, was quoted by Melody Maker, "My parents pushed me the wrong way: I've turned into this nail-polish and eyeliner-wearing, androgynous, drug taking musician." Hopefully this isn't something he's bragging about. Placebo's music reflects Molko's attitude and cultural confusion.

The band most likely will attract their own kind, another group for the 13-year-old outcasts from dysfunctional families and transvestites. However, for those just having a bad day, it's not bad to have on in the background.