Album Reviews by Mark Bayross and EDF
Review by Mark Bayross
After four years of internal wrangling during which they nearly imploded, Garbage emerge triumphant with album number four under their collective arm. Presented as a more back-to-basics effort than the glossy BEAUTIFULGARBAGE, this is a cocky and confident record from a revitalised band.
Lead single WHY DO YOU LOVE ME will be familiar to most, its Frankenstein fusion of heavy processed guitars and Garbage-by-numbers singalong refrains somehow sounding both revelatory and underwhelming at the same time. Opener BAD BOYFRIEND is more straightforward and, followed by the deliciously melodic RUN BABY RUN, evokes the glory days of their self-titled debut.
The guitars have been cranked up and the electronics kept to a minimum although every song here still has Garbage’s trademark electro-rock sheen. Shirley Manson – as direct and brutally honest as ever – lays herself open on songs like the haunting title track. When she sings “You should see my scars” you have no doubt she’s ready to show them to you.
So, out go the 60s pop songs and the handclaps, and in come the mid-90s grunge riffs and the Breeders-style basslines. All quite appropriate considering the omnipresence of Butch Vig and his old cohort Dave Grohl drumming on the opening track. The album closes with the bittersweet HAPPY HOME, fading out in a glorious crescendo of fuzz, and normal service has been resumed.
No leap forward then, if anything a leap backwards, but when your songs are as effortlessly catchy as this, that’s no bad thing.
Review by EDF
Well it has been four years since the last Garbage album, the ill-fated BEAUTIFULGARBAGE, and with this fourth album the group seems to have gone back to what made their second album VERSION 2.0 great. Along the way, the group went through its usual drama of members quitting the group and rejoining, mixed in with relationship break-ups. Does BLEED LIKE ME do the group’s previous output any justice? Well, yes and no.
Even though Garbage’s debut album is one of the best debut album’s I’ve ever heard, the group seems to be stuck in a bit of a rut. While there are times the album is undoubtedly very good, you feel that the group are holding back on some tracks. The production on some of the songs is like a wall of sound where no one instrument stands out to give the song a much needed extra edge. The group seems to be happy with a final product that will keep their fans happy instead of exciting them. In other words BLEED LIKE ME is business as usual and it will have to do for now. Where the band goes from here is anybody’s guess.