Placebo – For What It’s Worth (Riverman/PIAS/Vagrant Records) 01/06/09

June 13, 2009 by  

for what its worth

“For What It’s Worth” is the first single form “Battle For The Sun”, the latest album from goth/emo monsters Placebo. And if the single is anything to go by, the androgenous Brian Molko may have finally found his balls.

Gone are the extended whining chorus’ and the melodramatic piano accompaniment. Absent also is the self-pitying despair of previous records. Not to say Molko and co. have turned over a new leaf exactly. “For What It’s Worth” is still dark and brooding, but now there is a hint of surliness thrown in.

The tone of the song is unusually confrontational, big heavy basslines full of danger and aggression, a real departure from what we have come to expect. And it sounds very much like a work in progress. Molko is not a natural frontman for this kind of thing and his lyrics and delivery strike a discordant note, as does the unexpected burst of trumpet before the chorus. “Got no friends, got no lovers” he declares, but without the anger and fire that such a line really needs. And it is a little one dimensional. Once you recover from your initial shock, the ever-present guitar grows a little stale. But a brave move out of the comfort zone from such an established band is definitely to be applauded.

Maybe there’s a spark of life in there yet.


Liam Clune