Not Your Kind of People


Garbage’s first album in seven years proves the long hiatus has done nothing to diminish the band’s chemistry. All the ingredients of the group’s post-grunge sound—techno-tinged abrasiveness, deadly pop hooks, Shirley Manson’s brainy sex appeal—are sharper than ever. Typical is “Blood for Poppies,” which churns with buzz-saw guitars, a sing-along melody and Manson’s effortless way of hooking sonic clamor to sure-footed pop instincts. Similar moments include “Automatic Systematic Habit” and “Big Bright World,” both of which wrap conventional song structures in serrated packages. Best of all is “Beloved Freak,” a ballad delivered by Manson with striking tenderness. Offering solace to misfits, the song comes off as Garbage’s equivalent of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.” The late Johnny Ramone once said that the only band that ever changed its style and got better was the Beatles. Like the Ramones themselves, Garbage is all the better for remaining themselves.  –Russell Hall

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