England must be depressing – lousy weather, bad teeth and bland food. But fortunately many of England’s best bands have harnessed this national angst and molded it into great music. With its new album Without You I’m Nothing(Virgin), Placebo is the latest British band to follow suit.
Already a big name in England, Placebo is starting to conquer America with its single “Pure Morning,” which is receiving radio play. The band combines the sound of the Cure with the lyrics of the Smiths and tosses in a dash of Nirvana. Add to the mix a singer who dresses like a woman and sings as if he’s inhaled a tank of helium. The result is an original sound that makes for great and incredibly catchy songs.
Without You I’m Nothing is filled with those type of songs. It is the soundtrack for a night of hard partying and for the harder comedown the next morning. The album contains rockers such as “Pure Morning,” which has lyrics: “A friend in need/ is a friend indeed/ a friend with weed/is better.” Other notable songs on the album include “Every You Every Me” and the teen-angst anthem, “You Don’t Care About Us.”
The album also offers a darker side with songs such as “The Crawl” and “Burger Queen.” The standout among these gloomier songs, and of the entire album, is the death-waltz, “My Sweet Prince.” An ode to heroin, the song delivers a haunting sound that will send shivers down the listener’s spine. The song also shows lead vocalist Brian Molko’s strength as a singer.
In today’s shiny, happy music times of bad ska bands and Celine Dion, Placebo casts a much-needed shadow over the music scene.