|Garbage - 'Not Your Kind Of People' (STUNVOLUME)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Monday, 14 May 2012 05:00|
Eyes closed, drifting away with some of the subtler moments of 'Not Your Kind Of People', the first Garbage album since 2005's 'Bleed Like Me', and you half expect to open them to find that you're back in the 1990s.
Not that this, Garbage's fifth studio album, is one of those tacky throwbacks that other reunited/reconvened/rejuvenated (call it what you will) bands peddle out as the opening gambit in a new quest to boost the off-shore bank accounts or egos. No, the sound that Garbage introduced to a decade so generally devoid of musical excellence was so distinct, so just...them, that listening to them now just, kinda, takes you back.
With the pop culture mouthpieces of two decades ago nipped and tucked sick jokes of their former selves, it is with the same effortless cool that Garbage return in 2012. If they were the musical equivalent of a sleeper hit in the '90s then little has changed - they remain more Sundance than Hollywood no matter how many units have been shifted, how many shiny discs hang framed along studio corridors.
If the opening track of this new album, which, for a time in the last decade, looked like it was never going to be a reality, has me immediately thinking of The Sounds and current bands of that ilk, I am suddenly jolted into a realisation that if it were not for Shirley Manson and Garbage then such bands would probably never have entered the rehearsal rooms of Europe, let alone break out from them. 'Automatic Systematic Habit' is a good opener; modern-sounding, impressive electronica-fuelled pop rock. 'Big Bright World', again, fires neon flashes of upbeat catchiness across the room, the band refreshed and sounding great. 'Blood For Poppies', the lead track that introduced this most welcome return to the world, is the first track on 'Not Your Kind Of People' to really echo the Garbage of old; the sexy, dark riff, Manson's seductive vocals, added to a monster hook that just won't let go.
If there's one big difference between Garbage in 2012 and the band of old it is in the lyrics and tone of the piece rather than the sound: subtlety reigns, as you might well imagine, but the brashness, the attitude, has been replaced with a laid-back sense of, well, knowing that they came, spat, and conquered some years ago and can now relax and have some fun with their music. Few fans could find fault with this slight swerve, surely - it is simply so good to have the band back.
There are times, the incredible 'Battle In Me' for example, when the music still stings the skin, spiked with barbs of both melody and deathly cool, 'Man On A Wire' also, yet these sit shoulder to shoulder with the luscious, beautiful even, 'Sugar' and closing track 'Beloved Freak'. Add to those the electronic majesty of 'I Hate Love' and you have an album that twists and turns, contorts even, in several different directions yet always arrives at the same, wicked destination.
'Not Your Kind Of People' isn't an explosive return of any kind; this record is an unseen assailant, swarming around your person, forcing its way under your skin. The more you listen, the more you will love. Welcome back Garbage, you have been sorely missed.