"A Place Of Their Own"

Alternative Press, Dec'98

by Dave Thompson

"Placebo singer Brian Molko sighs through pouting and rouged lips and cuts a delicate shape on the nerby chaise lounge. It's been one of those weeks when your world goes topsy-turvy and there's not a thing he can do about it.

Placebo’s second album, the languorous glam stomper Without You I’m Nothing (Virgin), was cruising for a 1999 release, three months after it’s European twin, and a more luxurious campaign could not have been imagined: a few months promoting it at home and abroad, Christmas with the Family, and then on to America to start it all again.

And then the highly influential L.A. station KROQ pounced on “Pure Morning”, the albums first British single, played the thing to death within days, and now everything’s happening at once.

“We’ve had five weeks off in the last two years, and we’ll be touring forever.” , Molko prophesies despairingly. But then his face beams open again. “but we thrive on it. It’ll be great”.

Whereas other English bands have positioned themselves to pounce upon the first cracks appearing in Pulps portentous carapace. Placebo –Molko, bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Hewitt—have stepped out from under every shadow beneath which they labored. They’ve stepped so far out of character, in fact, that only Space can share the same room with them—the room once fenced off for the new pop’s outsiders.

Placebo continue to work within the confines set by their 1996 Caroline Debut album, but, like Space they’ve hit the sophomore trail with a lot more in the make-up bag than a couple of great songs—and a lot of pretty ones too. “Pure Morning” isn’t really like anything else, because Placebo aren’t really like anyone else. With the band having gone through what Molko describes as “a period of growth too involved to try to explain,” the resultant new outlook places Placebo somewhere between smiling dilettantes and doom-weary death dwarves.

Certainly Molko sounds a long way from the fey fireball who complained to A.P. last year, “I read your 80’s Revival article—how come we weren’t included?”. But he’s also adamant that this is precisely where Placebo need to be.

“It’s a very personal album,” he admits. “And it was weird baring our souls so that much. But we all got so much out of it, it was worth it.”