Placebo | B3 (UMe)

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placebo-b3ep-300x300It is here where Stefan Olsdal really shines, reminding us why he deserves a place among guitar’s elite.


“I refuse to remain in regret” sings Brian Molko to kick off the band’s in-between-albums five-song EP, B3, instantly reminding us that we’ve missed him—and his kickass bandmates, too. At their best, Placebo is a driving, dirty, and desperate wall of sound, led by Stefan Olsdal’s firing guitar, Steve Hewitt’s relentless drums, and Molko’s distinctive nasal vocals. “I Know You Want to Stop” takes the energy from “B3” and notches it up a bit; there’ll be no rest here, and that’s the way Placebo wants you to like it. I can tell at first listen this will be a hot track to catch live.

Molko’s introductory admission on “The Extra”—“I try every day/ to think of something new to say/ because I would like to find the words/ that deserve to be heard”—could be an apt description of his job as a musician. The song turns introspective, with him asking, “If I am an extra in the film of my own life/ then who the hell is the director?/ If I am an extra in the film of my own life/ will someone please turn off the camera?” This song’s more atmospheric and reflective, and even a bit monotonous as Molko repeatedly intones “Show me how to live.” Still, the song holds up; it grew on me with closer listens, and even seemed to deepen in meaning.

“I.K.W.Y.L.” is a gorgeous and moody song that should be soundtracking a video montage, one depicting a crucial life decision of some sort. The titular acronym stands for “I know where you live,” making the track all the more creepy and transfixing. It is here where Olsdal really shines, reminding us why he deserves a place among guitar’s elite. Finally, there’s “Time Is Money,” which finds Molko taking stock of his life—and his Jesus, if you can believe it. Even as the weakest track on the EP, it’s still enough to wear the Placebo name.

Placebo is set to release its seventh full-length in 2013; until then, though, you’ll more than enjoy this dose of B3. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Muse, Shudder to Think, glam rock

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