Nine years after Loud Like Love, Placebo is back with a new album, Never Let Me Go. Though prepared to be published on March 25, 2022, two tracks off the LP, Beautiful James and Surrounded By Spies, have surfaced before release. If you are curious what the two singles sound like, now is your chance to hear them through this review.
At first listen, talking vocals in Surrounded By Spies and bombastic drum patterns carry the song forward. Raindrop-like synth mixed with scarce bass brings a sonic atmosphere to the middle of the single before cathartic guitars overtake the mix toward the end. By the time we hit the 4:15 mark, ambient chaos is all that is to be heard.
The single reminds fans of the group’s heyday, compared with the likes of Nancy Boy and Bruise Pristine. Abrasive and grungy, this direction is clearly the step in the right direction.
I began writing the lyrics when I discovered my neighbors were spying on me on behalf of parties with a nefarious agenda. I then began to ponder the countless ways in which our privacy has been eroded and stolen since the introduction of worldwide CCTV cameras that now employ racist facial recognition technologies… It’s a true story told through a lens of paranoia, complete disgust for modern society’s values, and the deification of surveillance capitalism. The narrator is at the end of their tether, hopeless and afraid, completely at odds with our newfound progress and the god of money.
Brian Molko – Placebo Frontman
Nonetheless, the group takes the opposite direction with the other track shared off the album, Beautiful James. Full of androgynous vocals and 80s synth, the song is as beautiful as the titular man in question. As with most Placebo songs, the drumming is top-notch, and the guitar performance, very suitable for the tune. Truly joyous, the lyrics reflect Molko’s need to deliver hope during this depressing COVID time.
As new Placebo is set to be released in the coming year, be sure to Pre-order Never Let Me Go and access ticket pre-sale here. Regardless, why not go ahead and follow Glasse Factory for more music-related articles and all-around awesomeness?