GARBAGE play the Phoenix on Monday (May 28). See listing. Rating: NN
A band made up almost entirely of studio wizards (including Nevermind producer Butch Vig), Garbage have always sounded overproduced. Back from a seven-year hiatus and now far removed from the “alt-rock” zeitgeist of the late 90s, the post-grunge survivors sound even more like a straight-up pop act, albeit one with a retro flavour.
Their “edgy” yet heavily processed bubblegrunge is a relic of 1998. Shirley Manson’s black-clad image and angsty lyrics hit the same “don’t fuck with me” notes, while the arrangements continue to evoke My Bloody Valentine watered down for radio. Unfortunately, in an era when empowered pop stars like Lady Gaga forge their own mainstream image, none of it shocks.
Garbage still have a knack for placing sticky hooks behind walls of guitar sheen, but when they slow down on Beloved Freak and the title track ballad, the results get a bit cringy.
Top track: Felt