While Placebo's self-titled debut contained mostly elements of '90s alternative (Smashing Pumpkins, etc.), their second album, Without You I'm Nothing, is full of '70s glam rock and punk references. Placebo's rhythm section of Stefan Olsdal (bass) and Steve Hewitt (drums) is impressively tight, but the band's star attraction is undoubtedly androgynous singer/guitarist Brian Molko. Whereas the debut was written solely by Molko, their latest is a bona fide group effort, with Molko still handling the lyric-writing. The swirling anthemic album opener, "Pure Morning," is a self-proclaimed "celebration of friendship with women," and should be a guaranteed hit single, while the racing "Brick Shithouse" merges '90s electro-rock with Sonic Youth punk guitars. "You Don't Care About Us" shows that Molko can easily re-create J Mascis' late-'80s guitar tones, and "Scared of Girls" contains gender-bending vocals from Molko and a tribal-rock accompaniment. With massive success already underway back home in England, Without You I'm Nothing deserves to break through everywhere else.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato