Essentially preposterous, it's thrilling whenever Warfield pitches in, and you're left wondering why he is used only once.Sexually ambiguous and pretty, Molko nevertheless displayed the sexual discernment of a tomcat.He sampled and enjoyed the full mantelpiece of drugs, from caffeine to heroin.Molko has even given up taking pot-shots at other bands. These 13 songs (the 13th is a hidden original, Black Market Blood) are a statement of renewed, focused intent.
Molko's guitar provides a metallic sheen for his vocals, Stefan Olsdal is as reliable a bassist as you'll find this side of Travis's Dougie Payne (although his keyboards are under-used), while Steve Hewitt is merely a useful drummer. Spite & Malice features - and is co-written by - Justin Warfield, the sweary half-Cherokee, half-Jewish rapper, whose gritty vocals provide welcome shading to Placebo's black-and-white world.
This is all well and good, but it's not quite enough, and what was once an element of danger has been usurped by Placebo's new traditionalism. Eulogising the May Day riots in London, it utilises the old Black Panthers' slogan, "dope, guns and fucking in the streets".