Besides a pre-nup David Walliams, nothing dates faster than tech-rock. So Butch Vig’s industro-pop outfit Garbage face a dilemma on their return with a fifth album after a seven year hiatus: how to make the 90s’ idea of future-rock sound relevant now the future’s actually got here.
Their solution is to clad their trademark proto-emo punches in the blips, cranks and buzzes of contemporary pop and electro, envisioning a record that will prove accessible to fans of Pink, Justice, Muse and Rammstein alike.
It works too: there’s enough modernist dancefloor trickery to Automatic Systematic Habit and Big Bright World to warrant a flick through the booklet searching for Kanye’s name, and enough inherent pop hooks flooding through Shirley Manson’s compulsive vocals to root them in the mainstream, but also enough flamethrower electro riffs in Battle In Me and Man On A Wire to please the faithful.
Garbage in 2012 are, in fact, a kind of musical Hunger Games: gritty tales of violence, fear and desperation glossed to the highest levels of counter-culture populism. It’s most clear in the way The Police, Marilyn Manson and Nickelback are all referenced in a raga rock war scene called Blood For Poppies, or the closing outsider ballad Beloved Freak, equal parts Adele and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Everyone’s kind of people, it turns out.