"Without You I'm Nothing"

The Daily Telegraph, Mar'98

by David Cheal


THE SECOND album from the band led by the hermaphroditic pixie, Brian Molko, is a controlled explosion of sexual infatuation and emotional yearning that is both scary and compelling.

The tone is set by the opening track, Pure Morning, a rhythmic looping tune on which we are given a glimpse of Molko's predilections: dominance and submission, pain and leather, blood, sweat and fear. Plainly, Placebo are not the New Christie Minstrels.

What follows is a rollercoaster journey through their peculiar world, on which the three-piece rock format - bass, drums, vocals and guitar - is pushed to its limits: Scared of Girls, for instance, matches Nirvana for controlled ferocity and blinding riffery.

Meanwhile, the more restrained and conventional songs, such as Every You Every Me, show Placebo as the purveyors of contagious pop hooks at their best (remember Nancy Boy?).

Finally, a health warning: there's a hidden track at the end of the last song, Burger Queen, that builds into something awesome and terrifying. Guitars wail and judder, drums rumble, an answer-machine message repeats. It sounds like a man going out of his mind.