With their "Pure Morning" manifesto of "a friend with weed is better," Placebo kicked their decidedly Euro glam-stance straight into the American bedroom, leaving eyeliner stains on unlikely pillows and momentarily making the slap-the-floor goth dance relevant again. On "Sleeping With Ghosts," Brian Molko and company seek something altogether more immediate: a Bush-like (Gavin, not George) anthem-ry of production blips set to aggro transcendence (thanks to U.N.K.L.E. and DJ Shadow producer Jim Abiss). While not necessarily an admirable concept on paper, Placebo does well to throw back it's sticky hair to the wind a bit on biters like "The Bitter End" and "English Summer Rain." Maudlin preening has not been altogether eschewed, however, with the title track taking a surprisingly political take on the Peter Murphy lament, its refrain of "damn the government/ damn their killing/damn their lies" followed by the obligatory romance of "dry your eyes." Ultimately, Placebo is best understood in its "Velvet Goldmine" context as successors to Bowie's "Moonage Daydream," and as such, overwrought metaphoria such as "Plasticine" (cringe) makes for wistful, if derivative, listening for the starry-eyed set.
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