Placebo – B3 EP review

Placebo, the London alt-rock trio who are rounding up on 20 years as a group, dropped an EP last week foreshadowing their forthcoming full-fledged 7th studio album next year. Titled B3, the EP is intended to give fans an enticing nibble at what’s still to come.

Tried and true Placebo fans won’t be disappointed, as it’s evident even on a first-listen of the 5-song collection that the band hasn’t abandoned their moody, awkwardly-futuristic-yet-grunge-inspired core sound. They’ve merely injected it with rolling drums, and switching intervals of mellow then pummeling riffs.

Most notable is the lead vocalist and lyrical genius work of Brian Molko. Frontman Molko meshes his wit into a provocatively nasal assault of meaning, drawing on themes of good old fashioned anti-authoritarian recklessness, inability to be oneself in society, and Nirvana-esque mires of love and loss. While admittedly incohesive, the subject matter he discusses gives him the profound ability to provoke fans. Hopefully Molko doesn’t find himself soon, because the angsty trapped-soul vibe works with the confinements of his voice, making his outburts even more loaded and powerful.

This EP is a battleground; drummer Steve Forrest demands the listener’s acknowledgement with a noticeable thrashing of the drums in every track, which he absolutely nails. Nonetheless, Placebo has gone for a cleaner, less-glam sound with this EP. The opening track, namesake “B3,” is surprisingly harsh at first listen- but warms you up as the chorus rolls out, hitting hard and inevitably yielding a few head bobs. The rebellious “I.K.W.Y.L” (I Know Where You Live) is a riotous jest at authority, again with Forrest’s drums a demanding a constant presence that won’t go unappreciated. “I Know You Want To Stop” is one of the more melodic tracks of the set, exhibiting a fusion of new and old that’s sure to grab a few young ears. “Time is Money,” is a slow-paced, rugged afterthought of a track that allows you to drink your fill without being over saturated; it blankets the other songs in harmony.

“Will your paranoia keep you warm?” Molko drawls.

Placebo, no need to be paranoid. B3 will surely placate followers until the release of your album- until then, this EP will serve as the action-flick component to life’s soundtrack.

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