It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since Garbage released an album. Seemingly out of nowhere, they have returned to release their fifth studio album Not Your Kind Of People and it sounds to me like they’ve never left. Their self-titled debut was a 90’s alternative classic with singles like “Only Happy When it Rains” and “Stupid Girl.” They evolved rapidly from the first to their following two albums Version 2.0 and Beautiful Garbage by pushing the electronic sound only touched upon in their debut and heightening front-woman Shirley Manson’s vocals to a “happier-sounding” place. By their fourth effort Bleed Like Me they had successfully meshed the best of their trash with the best of their electro-clash and gave both their old and new fans something to chew on.
After the release of Bleed Like Me Garbage went on indefinite hiatus whilst most fans believed the band had simply broken up. A best-of album was released in 2007 containing some new material that had given fans hope of a return, and now Garbage has done just that with Not Your Kind Of People, an album that has something for anyone who’s ever been a fan and contrasts nicely with their previous album.
Garbage knew what they were doing by choosing “Blood for Poppies” as their first single off the album. Immediately you’re reunited with the band’s classic sound complete with dirty guitar riffs and a swift electro kick. By the chorus, it all gives way to the lighter and more pop-rock Garbage sound, and it comes together brilliantly. The slower, moodier songs are certainly not without merit and some of them from this album are enjoyable. Most notable of these was the title track, which has a unique “dark country” meets Pink Floyd sound. Repeated listens reveals “Felt” to be a standout out with its opening riff straight from the heyday of the Smashing Pumpkins and overall feeling of 90s alternative nostalgia. It would have been viable choice for the lead single.
The album has fillers of course, such as “Sugar,” but the quality of its better half outshines these few missteps. Garbage surprises toward the end of the album with the on-and-off “Battle In Me” delivering both a grungy yet bouncy sound (up until it’s disjointed, simplistic chorus) and the fantastic “Man On a Wire,” a rocker you could easily imagine played as a concert opener to really get their crowd going. Turn up the volume on this one.
With Not Your Kind Of People, Garbage have successfully opened a new chapter in their career, developing their sound further by just the right amount and without alienating their fans. Welcome back lady and gentlemen.
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