CULTURE

Placebo return for latest round of fire

Just three dates into their latest world tour, the multinational rock outfit Placebo, a regular and popular visitor here, will perform in Athens tonight at the Terra Vibe venue in Malakassa, on the capital’s northern outskirts. With a new album, their fifth, released last spring, Placebo reminded critics and fans of their determination to keep providing fresh-sounding material. «Meds,» the group’s latest work, provides yet another round of the act’s bare-sounding musical honesty, vulnerability and sense of danger. Formed in the early 1990s by frontman Brian Molko, a Scottish-American musician raised in the UK, and Swedish bassist Stefan Olsdal, Placebo took little time to draw a following. Their self-titled debut album in 1996 produced a series of hit singles and the act found itself on major stages opening for celebrated acts, such as the reformed Sex Pistols and U2. A year later, the act was invited by David Bowie to perform at the superstar’s 50th birthday bash at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It was not a one-off venture for the band with Bowie. Not long afterward, the legendary rocker, whose androgynous style during the glam-rock era of the early 70s had an impact on Placebo years later, made a special appearance with the band at a New York show. Bowie and Placebo also gathered for a rerecording of the title track from the band’s 1998 album «Without You I’m Nothing,» which was issued as a single. For their third album, Placebo injected hip-hop and disco elements to their restive rock sound. In 2003, Placebo returned with a harder-edged sound for «Sleeping With Ghosts,» their fourth album and an international chart success. Placebo’s career-spanning compilation «Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004» reaffirmed the band’s hard-to-pinpoint style and tendency to progress naturally with each album. The band’s latest release, «Meds,» for which frontman Molko has put aside his glam-era fixations, includes a duet with REM’s Michael Stipe.