Garbage: Strange Little Birds review – a sluggish comeback

(Stunvolume)

It’s 21 years since the release of Garbage, a treasure chest of irresistibly schlocky, digitally warped pop-grunge manifestos for the defiantly damaged. Singer Shirley Manson has claimed this sixth album is a kindred spirit to that debut, but instead it encapsulates the problem for reforming 1990s bands: you can’t go back, and going forward is even harder. Garbage’s sound is a tricky reupholstering job, their brand of angst period-passe, and Strange Little Birds searches sluggishly for the right tone, dreamy moments of trip-hop slink and flickers of brutal noise offering only fleeting hope. There’s plenty of build – see the coiling, gothic tension of Blackout – but little release, and a lack of those big, punchy choruses that were their strongest suit. Only Empty and So We Can Stay Alive hit old heights, and not hard enough.

Contributor

Emily Mackay

The GuardianTramp

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