While no-one knows or actually cares about two of the band members, Duke Erikson and Steven Marker, who are in fact just as important as the other two more famous members in terms of creating crafty sonic songs in the studio, Butch Vig has been winning Grammies for his producing work with Green Day and The Foo Fighters, while Shirley Manson turned in a brilliant acting performance as a liquid-metal T-1001 Terminator in the short-lived but thrilling Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series; and recorded a solo album that got shelved by her record company as it was too dark. The record company suits, so the story goes, wanted the new Annie Lennox. Shirley said, literally, ‘Nah, fuck that shit’.
So here we are with a new Garbage album and the good news is it’s fantastic and easily the best thing they have done since their second album, Version 2.0.
In press releases the band has stated that the feel of the new album reminded them of their very first record, and while it’s not as direct and cunningly brutal as their self-titled debut there is a similar spirit of writing incredibly clever and catchy pop songs with a guitar rock edge and a squirming underbelly of the slightly less acceptable things in life.
For this listener, the album is a thing of beauty and quite beguiling, devious and sassy – the best new record I’ve heard so far this year, so make sure you spend a couple of extra bucks to buy the 15-track deluxe version instead of the standard 11 track issue! It’s simply magic.
Pop trivia fans: See if you can catch the slight vocal shout out to ‘Self Control’, that ’80s classic by Laura Branigan, on the first single/video, ‘Blood For Poppies’. JASON DONOGHUE
Sound = 4/5
Music = 4.5/5