(Astralwerks 2006)Placebo - Meds

Long gone is the edgy, spontaneous Placebo that left listeners guessing with each track and critics complaining. Ten years have come and gone since the band's self-absorbed self-titled debut and the trio seem to have emerged somewhat wiser and with a new outlook on life. Where the last Placebo album, "Sleeping With Ghosts" had a cautious, advisory tone, "Meds" flows freely, with full instrumentation that, with smooth and memorable melodies, has a guiltless sing-along quality.

Familiar Placebo is brought back to life in the full, pounding sound of the album's title track as VV of The Kills makes a guest appearance. Instrumentation clinks metallically on "Space Monkey" while singer and guitarist Brian Molko whispers moodily. Always driven by their quieter ballads, Placebo do not disappoint with the smooth and thoughtful political ballad "Follow The Cops Back Home" and the sincerity of "Pierrot The Clown" while "Blind" is a surprising power ballad. Piano twinkles lightly on "Broken Promise" as Molko duets with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, the song growing and building power before ending with Molko singing a capella and really proving why he is still relevant in music today. Elsewhere "Post Blue" and the unique industrial-influenced rhythm on "One Of A Kind" are memorable tracks that will replay in your head for days.

Dark pop melodies rise and soar on "Meds" as Placebo maintain a bit of their subversive qualities that have long made them appealing to fans. "Meds" picks up where "Sleeping With Ghosts" left off, straightening its course and working out the kinks. Placebo sound true to themselves with the new collection of songs on "Meds" -- both sexy and perilous, dark and light. From the first notes of "Meds," Placebo promise something special on their fifth studio album, offering a special energy that cannot help but draw you in.


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