July 9, 2006
Greetings to all! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo with another excellent from our friends at Astralwerks. Many bands have tried to capture the wild, androgynous spirit of glam-era Bowie and tether it to a modern, rock-radio friendly sound. But none have succeeded – or been more reliably adventurous while doing it – quite as often as Placebo has. And you can take it from the source: David Bowie himself is a fan of the group, and Placebo played the Thin White Duke’s fiftieth birthday party at Madison Square Garden.
If American rock fans have been a bit slow on the uptake, their counterparts across the Atlantic have had no such difficulty placing Placebo in the pantheon of great glam revivalists. Their singles “Nancy Boy” and “Pure Morning” were both Top Ten UK hits, and Placebo has been a gigantic festival draw throughout Europe for the past decade. Singer and songwriter Brian Molko draws from Bowie and Bauhaus, T-Rex and early Suede, and delivers his stories in a voice with the dangerous precision of a well-honed scalpel. The band’s sophomore release Without You I’m Nothing was one of the epochal rock albums of the turn of the millennium – a barbed-wire fusion of early-Seventies glitter rock, Britpop, chartbusting alternative music, and brave experimentation. Its reverberations continue to be felt across Great Britain, as UK bands continue to chase Placebo’s tail.
That chase just got harder. With Meds, the London trio has upped the ante by giving the producer’s chair to one of the Continent’s most adventurous musicians: Dimitri Tikovoi. But if anybody expected the French auteur (best known for his work with Goldfrapp) to tart up Placebo’s music, Meds will come as a shock. Instead, he’s encouraged Molko and company to lay on the gas pedal and rock out. The result is Placebo’s most straightforward and economical release yet – a set of stinging compositions that radiate danger, disquiet, and an intoxicating ambiguity. Michael Stipe, The Kills’ Allison “VV” Mosshart, and Robert Smith make guest appearances, but this is the band’s show, and their notorious algebra of sex, drugs, and mortal peril has never seemed so ruthlessly calculated.
“Infra-Red” is a threat, and the last bullet from the revolver of a dying man – and as the music rages around him, Molko sings it in the cool voice of the enforcer. No specific referent is given, and nor do the lyrics indicate why Placebo is so resolute, or why the narrator is so lethal, or from what direction the peril is bound to come. The clip for “Infra-Red” is steeped in mystery, too: we’re shown limousines, the internal mechanics of computers, strange discs, and taken to the top of a Brazil-like corporate headquarters to watch the unraveling of a strand of DNA. What are these scientists and businesspeople doing? Shot in cold, institutional greens, and clinical whites, the clip takes on a sinister tone almost instantly – and gets darker from there.
Surrounded by amplification devices, Placebo plays against a black backdrop. There’s a suggestion that they’ve set up in the bowels of the building, and that their music is summoning resistance to the conspiratorial goings-on. But the agents of static are an army of ants, who stream out of cracks in the machinery and march, in lockstep, along pheromone trails. They scout the war room, invade the computers and disengage the circuitry – and manage to alter the message broadcast on a Presidential teleprompter.
Here at HIP, we are very excited to be working with Krista Crews and all the fine folks at Astralwerks to bring you yet another amazing artist from their diverse and eclectic roster. Astralwerks is responsible for bringing you not only Placebo, but other great artists on the HIP roster like Fatboy Slim and Radio 4. They have also supplied us with plenty of copies of Placebo’s critically acclaimed new album Meds for all of your on-air giveaway needs. Expect to see Placebo in America later this year, touring in support of Meds, so please let us know if you would like to set up interviews or IDs when they are here in the states. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at [email protected] You can also visitwww.PlaceboWorld.co.uk to find out more about Placebo.
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