The persistently under-the-radar alt-rockers behind the gender-focused alternative hit “Nancy Boy” and their definitive single “Every Me Every You” have been in desperate need of a comeback, and they finally reached their highest place on the U.K. charts with Never Let Me Go. Led by four well-received singles, this new album peaked at #3 in their home country, beating their debut record, which only made it to #5.
If nothing else, the lead single, "Beautiful James," is worth the investment. Both glimmeringly radiant and cathartically driving, this song is an obvious high point that a few other songs similarly reach. The bar was set high with that first taste, but luckily, other songs maintain the same vibe and sonic expansion. The classic synth-driven sound of Depeche Mode lurks, but Brian Molko's characteristic voice and lyrics elevate things. Furthermore, bassist Stefan Olsdal once again lends an electronica-influenced pulse to the album, wrapping together the band's signature sound.
The Verdict on ‘Never Let Me Go’
The music from Never Let Me Go is certainly a far cry from aiming for a set of new filler songs to set up a new tour. After last touring supported by only their greatest hits, their efforts here are the opposite, daring to expand on the formats they have laid out for themselves over the years. While that means the nearly hour-long record could have been trimmed a bit, Placebo have now also created some of their most vital songs in years. Whether skimming for highlights or enjoying every second, there’s no denying Molko and Olsdal have the energy here that they should have had 10-plus years ago.