Summary

Despite all appearances to the contrary, Garbage spent only eight years on an indefinite hiatus -- it only seemed like they spent over a decade wandering in the pop hinterlands. Granted, Garbage fostered this impression, presenting their 2012 album Not Your Kind of People as a grand comeback, inviting comparisons to their earlier work and happily riding the burgeoning '90s revival of the 2010s. Unlike their two W administration-era albums, there is no grappling with new sounds and styles, only an embrace of the thick aural onslaught of "Stupid Girl" and "Vow." Garbage have homed in on their essence and are unafraid to revive memories of their past glories. Old pros that they are, they're able to deliver their hooks cleanly and efficiently, accessorized in just enough ruckus to cut through the murk. There is no evident flab in either the composition or production; the album avoids the moody detours that sometimes bogged down their latter-day records, and there is a noted emphasis on the pure, simple power of melody. Every hallmark of Garbage is here, the only concessions to their advancing age arriving via Shirley Manson's keenly aware lyrics, leaving the rest of the record to stand as a simultaneous testament and revival of their strengths. And therein lies the rub: what once was futuristic now sounds nostalgic -- or to borrow a title from another member from the class of 1995, "Brand New You're Retro" -- and that's the appeal of Not Your Kind of People, for better or worse. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine