Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Black Market Music

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Black Market Music

Article excerpt

Black Market Music * Placebo * Virgin

From rabble-rousing to poignancy, there's nothing that Placebo won't spin around on its latest release

Placebo excels at messing with conventional alt-rock music norms. Onstage, members of the London-based trio cross-dress frequently, while singer-guitarist Brian Molko's androgynous appearance keeps the uninitiated guessing. Add the fact that these guys make up one completely cosmopolitan motley crew--Molko is a bisexual American; bassist Stefan Olsdal, a gay Swede; and drummer Steve Hewitt, a heterosexual Brit--and you have what Molko has called "an extremely interesting melting pot of emotions."

The fiery mixture comes to full boil on Placebo's third disc, Black Market Music, a visceral collection that delves into industrial, punk, and experimental rock spectrums. Here, Molko's frank lyrics pack far more punch than on 1998's Without You I'm Nothing (and its minor U.S. hit "Pure Morning").

The harrowing "Special K" wisely employs female backing vocals (a Placebo rarity) as Molko compares the rush of falling in love with drug addiction: "No hesitation / No delay / You come on just like Special K / Just like I swallowed half my stash / I never ever want to crash. …

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