There are a few bands on this planet that are so unique you can identify their sound almost immediately. One of those bands is certainly Placebo. Formed in London in 1994 by singer-guitarist Brian Molko and guitarist-bassist Stefan Olsdal, they have released seven studio albums, all of which have reached the top 20 in the United Kingdom, and have sold around 11 million records worldwide.
Placebo released their latest album Loud Like Love last year and are currently touring the US for the first time in seven years. These guys do exactly what legendary artists do—they evolve their sound while staying true to the formula that their fans have grown to love. Frontman Brian Molko is a perfect example of an iconic eclectic rock star in every sense. His thought-provoking lyrics are genius and his ability to effortlessly combine elements of post-punk, glam, and electronica seamlessly layering them one on top of another creates incredible songs.
With the release of Loud Like Love, Placebo have crafted an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Every song on this album stands on its own. Brian Molko is one of those rare singers with such a unique voice that he needs no harmonies or special effects to enhance, only a massive sonic landscape as a foundation. And the live show is the perfect showcase for such brilliance.
The setlist last Thursday pulled heavily from Loud Like Love and it was received so well that they could have easily played the album in its entirety from start to finish. “A Million Little Pieces” and “Purify” were the true standouts of the night for me. Both had a three guitar attack that could quite possibly be the best sounding live guitars I have ever heard in my life.
“Too Many Friends” is another gem from the latest record. It’s a stellar song that deals with people on the internet and being far more close to friends on social networks, rather than away from the computer. This one will really get you thinking about how many friends online are in fact “too” many. Another standout for me was “For What It’s Worth” off of the brilliant Battle for the Sun.
The entire show was absolutely epic and I would happily attend them 10 more times on this tour if I could. Go see this one folks and witness what the UK is celebrating in arenas. And pick up a copy of Loud Like Love on LP—it sounds fantastic.
Molko has also revealed that he is releasing a retrospective book containing his own selection of lyrics from throughout his 20-year career at the helm of Placebo. Titled Brian Molko—Selected, the book is available to pre-order on 31 October.