Placebo are a British rock band who formed in London back in 1994. The band has had several line-up changes over the years, but currently consists of founding members, Brian Molko (vocalist and guitarist) and Stefan Olsdal (bassist and guitarist). Since their 1996 debut, the band have released seven full-length albums, but 2022 sees the band releasing their eighth studio album, Never Let Me Go. Here’s what we have to say about it…
It’s been 9 years since the band released their last studio album, so needless to say, excitement surrounding this release has been incredibly high…and rightly so!
The band have produced a record of epic proportions, packed to the brim with big songs and an extensive use of synths that has added a new-found diversity to their sound.
Never Let Me Go launches with the guitar-heavy and eerily synthesized ‘Forever Chemicals’ that instantly demonstrates the rock giants are back and mean business! It quickly flows into the epic single, ‘Beautiful James’ with its continued, heavy synth use and typical Placebo vocal from Brian Molko; yet the boundaries are clearly being pushed in respect of their musical style.
One thing’s for certain, the style of the album, whilst a comprehensive body of work, also offers a diversity throughout that is bound to prick up listener’s ears everywhere and have them coming back for more – there’s so much to take in, that you can’t help but revisit it, time and again.
Some of the standout tracks from the record include, ‘Happy Birthday In The Sky’ – a sombre and emotional song that reflects on the loss of people loved and sees a calm breakdown lead into a chaotic ending. ‘The Prodigal’ has regal-sounding and cinematic strings that remind of some sort of film soundtrack, whilst ‘Try Better Next Time’ focuses on the state of emergency the environment is in, on top of an anthemic, radio-friendly melody.
Never Let Me Go clearly demonstrates that the band are back and have used their time away to craft a masterpiece.
One of the best tracks on the record though, is the incredibly upbeat ‘Twin Demons’ that is just begging to be danced to live, at one of their upcoming UK tour dates! It has captivating melodies and all-encompassing instrumentals that are sure to draw in every listener.
Other tracks not to be missed, are the marching beat and grungy guitar-led ‘Hugz’ with its sincere lyrics – a very anarchic song. ‘Surrounded By Spies’ is sinister-sounding with its almost industrial melodies and bass-led breakdown that kick back into double-time drums and a chaotic descent to the end. Whilst ‘Chemtrails’ features shimmering synths and echoing guitars that ascend the melodies throughout, whilst singing about getting away from it all.
The ending of the album is a little more unique: ‘This Is What You Wanted’ is an aching, piano-led track that never fully kicks in, as you might expect; ‘Went Missing’ is very “spoken verse” – it’s poetic, repetitive and almost foreboding with echoing guitars that give it a sense of inner reflection, whilst closing track, ‘Fix Yourself’ borders on confrontational, choosing to focus on things that annoy Molko. It’s hypnotic and moody with processed beats that fade to the end.
Despite being nearly an hour long, the album does well to keep the listener’s attention as it navigates interesting soundscapes and controversial topics, whilst intertwining that familiar Placebo charm throughout. Never Let Me Go clearly demonstrates that the band are back and have used their time away to craft a masterpiece. It’s achingly beautiful and deeply thought-provoking. It’s an album that shows the band have what it takes to push themselves to continue growing their sound, over a quarter of a century into their career! Who knows what direction they will take next, but whatever it is, it’s bound to be captivating.
‘Never Let Me Go’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/never-let-me-go/1592498059
Never Let Me Go on Spotify
Surrounded By Spies
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s eighth album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.
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Matt – Muzik Speaks