Sunday, May 20, 2012

Garbage: "Not Your Kind Of People" (album review)

It's seems like a lot longer than seven years since we've heard new music from Garbage.  Well the silence has finally been broken as Butch Vig and company have dropped Not Your Kind Of People on us.

When the band first hit the scene they sounded fresh and new.  They were electronically-based, but they had a rawness to them.  They managed to fill the gap between techno pop and industrial music without being either.  And then there was the sultriness of Shirley Manson on top of that.  Not Your Kind Of People has little of any of that.

Instead of fresh and new it sounds old, tired and redundant.  Songs like "Man On a Wire" and "Beloved Freak" are the sound of a band going through the motion because they know they need product.



The rawness rarely appears.  Over-production has rounded all of the rough edges, and sapped the heart, out of tracks like "Felt" and "Big Bright World".  The album opener "Automatic Systematic Habit" shows some potential with an intro lifted directly from "White Room", but dashes our hopes when it morphs into just another slick pop number.

Even the band's nuclear weapon, Manson's sex appeal, is near completely absent.  The only hint of it comes in the form of the half-whisper, half-snarled vocals on "Sugar".  Unfortunately, the rest of the track is a throwaway.

A handful of moments do stand out for positive reasons.  A funky groove and fuzzy guitar power "Blood For Poppies".  A flurry of noise lashes out in fits and starts on the aggressive "Battle In Me".

With an album that checks in at 15 tracks in length, two or three slightly above average songs just isn't value for money.  Garbage, and more importantly their fans, would've been better served if they made it a full decade and put more work into it.

Garbage play The Phoenix in Toronto on May 28th.

Best tracks: "Battle In Me",

Track listing for Not Your Kind of People:
  • Automatic Systematic Habit
  • Big Bright World
  • Blood For Poppies
  • Control
  • Not Your Kind Of People
  • Felt
  • I Hate Love
  • Sugar
  • Battle In Me
  • Man On a Wire
  • Beloved Freaks
  • The One
  • What Girls Are Made Of
  • Bright Tonight
  • Show Me
4.5/10

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