Album Review: Placeholder – I Don’t Need Forgiveness


Bands can strive their whole careers to carve out their own niche, to discover their true identity. The ideal path for a band is to have your first album establish foundations, and the second album to show what you’re truly made of, but it appears Placeholder haven’t grasped that opportunity. In an extremely populous field of bands who fuse melodic punk and emo, Placeholder’s second record ‘I Don’t Need Forgiveness’ show little that separates them from their peers; it’s a rather unremarkable record, where every track sounds like something else.

Whether it be the Piebald vibes of ‘Slow Down’, ‘Don’t Look Back’ sounding like Further Seems Forever if fronted by Jonah Matranga, or the Texas Is The Reason-isms of ‘Caught The Crown’, the Philadelphians don’t seem to have the confidence to plough their own furrow, and seem to rely on the world-weary vocals of Brandon Gepfer to pull them through. His lethargic drawl, like Matt Skiba on codeine, is so dreary you’ll want to buy him a new plaid shirt to put a smile back on his face for the first time since discovering Rites Of Spring.

The poor production is another stumbling block – it seems to be a priority for bands of this ilk to sound like they were recorded in a soggy shoebox for 10p, but the sludgy guitars only make tracks like ‘One Year’ even harder to consume. We’re even treated to a little glimpse of this band’s future when they copy everyone else into “going grunge” on ‘Similarly’; meaning, of course, doing a really crude impression of “Bleach”-era Nirvana – can’t wait to hear album number three guys, I’m sure the bookers of Fest will lap it up.

With a name as bland and hollow as Placeholder, it was inevitable the music would be just as beige. It’s not a particularly unpleasant album per se, just completely bereft of originality and imagination. Many will lap this up, but if I were in your shoes, I’d save your hard-earned for the new Balance and Composure record – they seem to be taking this genre into interesting new places, whereas Placeholder are doing exactly what they say on the tin and staunchly sticking to tired retroisms. The trio may not “need forgiveness”, but this album sounds a little sorry to these ears,

‘I Don’t Need Forgiveness’ by Placeholder is out on the 17th September on Black Numbers.

Placeholder links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)


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