Album reviews: Placebo – Never Let Me Go, and Aldous Harding – Warm Chris

Placebo return with their first album in nine years, while Aldous Harding plays a host of eccentric characters on her fourth record

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 24 March 2022 13:30 GMT
Placebo in artwork for their new album
Placebo in artwork for their new album (Mads Perch)

Placebo review – Never Let Me Go


Brian Molko hates being watched. In interviews promoting his band’s first album in nine years, the Placebo frontman either looked away from the camera’s lens or turned it off altogether. “I don’t wanna see myself,” he sings on “Hugz”, a thrashy maelstrom of guitars and screeching synths. “I just wanna conceal myself.”

Never Let Me Go expands on the disassociation Molko encapsulated for so many misunderstood Nineties teens, applying it now to the entire human species. “Try Better Next Time” envisages animals frolicking in the woods, oblivious to their dinner-table fates, with Molko apparently looking forward to a time where we won’t bother them any more. “I was born out of time, I’m not meant to be here,” he sings, in his signature nihilistic drawl.

He craves escape on “Chemtrails”, fearful of his own innate violence; he disappears from planet Earth altogether on “Went Missing”, on which synths lap against his low murmurs like the incoming tide. When the world feels increasingly unpredictable, it’s kind of comforting to know that Placebo are still here, singing about the end of it.

Aldous Harding review – Warm Chris

Aldous Harding (Emma Wallbanks)


In a recent interview, Aldous Harding described attempting to round up the ideas swirling inside her head. The New Zealander referred to them as “people”, which explains why, on her fourth album, Warm Chris, she sounds like 10 artists, not one.

Each song has at least one unique voice; some have two or more characters jostling for position. She sings in a flutey falsetto on “Ennui” over piano plonks and sombre honks of brass. “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” is delivered in a Waxahatchee-style reediness over stark arpeggiating keys; organ-grinding closer “Leathery Whip” jumps from a laconic Rufus Wainwright drawl to a Nick Cave-meets-Patti Smith grunt, then to their squeaking love-child. It’s delightfully weird.

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