Placeholder is not necessarily a name that stands out. However, the band does.
Spotify has its fair share of “Placeholder” artists, yet a basic name can have benefits because of how broad a name it is. When I hear “Placeholder”, my mind doesn’t jump to a conclusion of what genre they may be and this could work in their favour; intriguing those who are unfamiliar and opening themselves up to a broader audience…or maybe Placeholder was a joke name that became real.
Placeholder have come out of the woodworks and launched into the scene with a well laid out base of operation. They have many places they could go from here. The release of their debut single and music video, “Room for Doubt” has filled a space in the local scene that I think needed something new. Upon my first listen (“Upon my first listen” should never be a precursor to a final opinion, by the way) I was somewhat cynical; was this band pandering to the mainstream from the get-go in the hopes of quick stardom? With further reflection, I decided against this possibility, or as much against it as I can be. Who can blame a band for wanting to get big? This band has some soul.
“Room for Doubt” is an emotionally charged yet structured piece that has the makings of a hit; it isn’t complex, but it has all the key components of a cool track with definite singalong potential. The introductory instrumentation sets a thematic tone from the get-go with ethereal guitars supporting the vocals that make themselves immediately present.
To further discuss the vocals, I am unsure of this singer’s name (the Facebook page has no details), but he delivers a compelling performance whilst maintaining his tone and composure throughout. I am certainly excited to see how this compares in a live performance. Additionally, the introduction sets a solid example of the drum work throughout the track which provides a nicely balanced backing to a song that pulls you through catchy choruses and sentimental bridges.
I was a big fan of the guitar tone which has some serious crunch to it without losing any clarity and even comes through clear on the most basic of headphones. I can’t go past that bouncy, clean guitar which sounds really tasty (for lack of a better word) on each pluck. I tried multiple headphones but couldn’t get much of the bass coming through, but I knew it was there (always look out for the bass).
Furthermore, I enjoyed the use of minimal synth during the introduction and final bridge which kept reinstating a somewhat celestial overtone. Placeholder also utilised some finishing touches such as what I can only describe as a high pitched guitar with tremolo effect and possibly a phaser cranked all the way. These final bits of polish build a sense of urgency and stand out when the song comes to a close, contrasting quite effectively with the fade out.
Lyrically this song has a lot going for it, I mean that being said my brain couldn’t interpret “Do you hit when I miss?” as anything but a bit of an old meme reference. TikTok memes aside, there is some real substance to be found in these lyrics. We are faced with a message depicting lasting effects in the wake of a close bond gone wrong. When things come to an end with someone you love, it won’t matter how peaceful or mutual it was, there will still be remnants of memories together which can lead to hostility and misinterpretation.
“Twist my words again, call me a liar, but it’s your fault.”
Romantic or not, relationships have the power to change one’s entire worldview and upon losing these, we can be thrown into a spiral of grief which tends to encompass all the cliches of “The Stages of Grief”. However, there is no denying the level of hurt, aggression and mixed emotions that dismissing a bond can muster. I feel Placeholder have done a fantastic job of communicating an experience through minimal use of words that are then supported by a well-crafted backing.
Placeholder, releasing their single through Dead Youth Records, have potential and there are a vast amount of directions in which this band could go. I am very much looking forward to seeing what they have planned next. I think that anyone who has the chance should go and see them supporting SLAVES (USA) and Awaken I Am at AM//PM Melbourne, March 22nd at the Colonial Hotel.