Monday 13 June 2016

Review: Garbage – 'Strange Little Birds'

'Strange Little Birds'

Imagine it's the 90's. Indie is in is prime and the US is enjoying Hip-Hop, Industrial & the Riot-girl movement. Emerging from the mix is a UK based four-piece which includes the godfather of grunge, the singer of 'Angelfish', the guitarist of 'Spooner' and a producer of small alternative acts. Together they were to skulk their way onto the music scene changing it forever.

Skip forward 20 years and not much seems to have changed. After the release of their fourth album 'Bleed Like Me' Garbage seemed to go in their own direction, taking their knowledge of the music business and creating a fun environment for themselves and their fans. This last year saw Shirley and her boys take the globe by storm celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, and with that a new album was sure to follow.
Enter 'Strange Little Birds'. An (as always) eclectic mix of all the things the band love, and with it comes the dark mysterious style Garbage are known for. This time though there seems to be a change. Gone is the swagger (apart from the incredible and catchy 'Empty', trust me you'll be singing the chorus by the end) and the ego their work has dealt with these last three decades, and in it's place is a sleeping tiger, fed after a hearty meal. The starting track is 'Sometimes'; a somewhat weak start, with Manson singing sweet nothings' into your ear (strange one to begin with), but it soon gives way to 'Empty' and 'Blackout', both with their memorable twangs and reverence. Unlike their previous releases, where there is a clear rise & fall element, SLB takes you on an odd journey which is reminiscent of the soundtracks' to survival horror games like Silent Hill, as well as the surrealist works of Cocteau.
After some more foggy-minded musings we kick back into gear with the anthem 'We Never Tell' and the wall-of-noise 'So We Can Stay Alive', packing all the punchier work near the end of the album. Then there's 'Teaching Little Fingers To Play', which if they hadn't already done a Bond theme wouldn't have look out of place on the titles of the new Daniel Craig epic.
In total this band have definitely evolved from their main label days, but they are not afraid to take influence from album's of a by-gone age. 'Empty' is very much taken from their love of 'Beautiful' and the darker sound is a hark back to the first album that gave them their fame.
If you are looking for a summer sun album you won't find it here, but if you want an album to moon bathe to this is just the ticket!

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