There was a time when it could have been conceivable to anyone who cared about music during the 90’s and away from the whole faux Brit-pop sideshow that seemed to dominate news item after news item, that the band Garbage might just be the ones to save music from digesting its own hype.
After the first couple of albums and with Shirley Manson taking more of the band’s persona, (not her fault, as the blame should always fall on certain members of the musical press giving more to one than the group as a whole), the music seemed to take a dive and the hiatus of the band for the last six years seemed to reinforce the notion that Garbage as a whole may have been a false dawn.
With the Wisconsin band’s first release in six years, the eponymous Not Your Kind Of People, it may be that the epitaphs and notes of Garbage’s demise were written in haste and with no forethought of the staying power of a determined bunch of musicians and with the fortitude of Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson. With the sound taking a hefty leap back to the original album’s sounds, they band not only seem to have re-invented themselves but done it by being what they were, a great alternative rock act with a sound that seemed to cross between the best of early grunge and the sophistication of generous guitar rock and mixed with a voice that could be the heart of any female- fronted group
Thankfully though, the influences of Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker, the band’s progression sound heavily throughout. Even though the photographic stills placed inside the cover for the album playfully go along with the old preconceptions that, like the Pretenders before them, the group were nothing without the personality at the front. They have become a much tighter unit and seem, at least on the new album, to have rediscovered what they should never have lost. A true definition of a band that is so much bigger and so much more respected together than apart.
There are some tracks that are mind blowing on the album, including the final track on the album, usually only placed there as a final bow to a record company in their urging to fill up the available space productively. Beloved Freak has all the hallmarks of the passion that can come across from a great band even when they slow down the tempo to the point where it can be out of step with the album as a whole.
It’s with a gladdened heart to welcome back Garbage and long may they stay around this time.
Ian D. Hall