Placebo, "Without You I'm Nothing" (Virgin)

Attention all fans of the rock world: we've found a band that finally breaks away from the curse of the one-hit wonders. With pure talent, the UK-trio Placebo releases their second album "Without You I'm Nothing."

Since their debut in 1996, Placebo has matured into a band worthy of much praise and airtime as an alternative band capable of real driving melodies and quirky beats.

Their first single, "Pure Morning," already surpasses expectations. Gaining success and experience every year, including certified-gold UK sales with their first self-titled album and some opening dates on U2's Popmart tour, Placebo continues to grow musically.

The unusual lyrics of "Pure Morning" characterize the new sound of Placebo. More dark and provocative than the first album, the song embodies haunting words that match the more sinister melodies. ("A friend in need's a friend indeed/ A friend who bleeds is better.")

The album remains a compilation of creative picks, ranging from soft contemplative mixes to upbeat, compelling tunes such as "Brick Shithouse."

"Brick Shithouse," destined to be the album's next single, also uses Placebo's recurring dark theme. Vocalist Brian Molko describes it as "a ghost story, about somebody watching their lover make love to the person who killed them."

Every song is unique and the album breaks free of the monotonous tendencies alternative music often employs. The tunes carry the listener over moving lines and gripping rhythms using just the right amount of mixing to complement the sound, not kill it.

Placebo's best songs include "Every You Every Me" and "Summer's Gone," but the whole album remains a perfect choice to kick back and enjoy a real band creating some serious music.

Michelle Zubiate