Review Summary: 'I try everyday to think of something deep to say...'
Placebo has always had a strong and dedicated following. The British alt-rockers take all their influences from the right places and came into their own to stand for a dissillusioned generation. Placebo made it okay to indulge and say '*** it' and they made it possible for even a nancy boy to feel like a badass, arguably to this day. Placebo fans were divided by the 2009 release Battle for the Sun, noting the departure of drummer Steve Hewitt and a cleaner, rockier direction in their sound. The B3 ep sheds light on the future of the band while confessing the hardships of this new phase the trio finds themselves in. It's big in concept and largely sucessful. It demonstrates that the band can still make good music but also illuminates why this was Placebo's first release in three years.
No, frontman Brian Molko wasn't hidden behind his excessive hair, but nor does it seem that he was necessarily thriving either. The most noticeable thing about B3 is the discomfort and awkwardness it carries. The melodies, rockiness and dark edge of the band still exist here but it's more subtle and may take a few listens to grasp. The band finds itself in Molko singing 'Show me how to live' trying to find where to go next. In the mirror seeing someone older but to far from where he's always been.
This ep truly has Placebo in the third basement floor. Toying with their inspirations and preparing themselves for next year's full lp release. B3 takes the bigness of Battle for the Sun but drags it back to the dark disillusionment of Black Market Music. It may seem out of place at first but the cover of Minxus's 'I Know You Want To Stop' goes far to shed light on Molko's lingering around in the past; a dreamscape of vices. Steve Forrest steps in wonderfully once again as well, contributing to the harshness and trembling of the ep. I won't deny that Steve Hewitt was an excellent drummer and a loss for Placebo but Forrest adds a whole new dimension to the band, really bringing the drumming to the forefront of the tracks.
The biggest drawback to the ep has to do with kinks in the lyrical themes. Placebo has always contained a certain degree of revolt within them but here Molko turns on the government moreso than ever before. At this stage though, it comes off a little contrived. The theme lacks focus and seems a bit gimmicky. The songs are all good enough though that you know this is only the beginning. In fact, it feels like in many ways this release was about the difficulty the band was having in releasing new material, finding Molko in such a new place in his career but it also shows the band's ability to turn their troubles into great music. And so B3 is damp and rusty, and it's a sign that Placebo is finding who their going to be post Battle for the Sun, but it is my recommendation to keep the faith that Placebo is just getting started, and what's coming wont disappoint.