Placebo

Personality Crisis

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Three sources document the first year in the life of Placebo, a span which was dominated by the success of "Nancy Boy," the band's astonishingly delectable U.K. chart debut. Opening with a set of six very well polished demos, barely distinguishable from their album counterparts, Personality Crisis continues with excerpts from two live shows, Leeds in April 1996, Copenhagen in November. Both are taken from good broadcast sources, both are indicative of the band's depth and power. Certainly "Nancy Boy," "36 Degrees," and "Bruise Pristine" are deserving of especial praise, while "Teenage Angst" packs a punch which proves it knows what it's talking about. Whether the world (or even the band's own fan club) actually needs an Early Days of Placebo boot, of course, is another question entirely; in terms of musical development, there is little to choose between on any of the performances, and Brian Molko's vaguely ovine vocal -- strong and varied on official releases -- really starts to irritate live. But maybe the manufacturers know that already; this album's humorously punning title was lifted from a New York Dolls song, but there's another which would have been just as appropriate: "Too Much Too Soon."

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